How to Make Arroz con Leche and Polvorones
Arroz Con Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)
I first learned about arroz con leche when I was studying Spanish in college. I subscribed to People magazine in Spanish just to get a little more practice and learn about Latin pop culture.
I happened upon this recipe among its shiny pages with actors from various telenovelas, musical concerts and the secret lives of Latin celebrities.
My mom made a type of vanilla pudding with rice when I was growing up. Since my mom is very secretive about her recipes - she always has been - I had to figure out how to make arroz con leche with a flavor that you can only get from a home-cooked meal that only moms can make.
Over the years, I've made this recipe countless times, sharing with friends and family alike. I make it any time I have a sweets craving. Those cravings can happen any time of year, so even when it's hot out, you can refrigerate this rice recipe and serve it cold.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white rice, I used long grain Jasmine rice in my recipe but medium and short grain rice is great, too
- 1 stick cinnamon, cut into pieces (this is optional)
- 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
- 1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk
- 1/2 cup raisins, (optional if you don't like raisins)
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. salt, I used sea salt in this recipe
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder, enough to sprinkle on pudding before serving
Arroz Con Leche Isn't Just a Snack
- I love this recipe as the "grain" in my breakfast dishes. Serve with a side of eggs and sausage.
- If you serve as a snack, this rice pudding recipe is especially good with vanilla wafers or other type of cookie.
- If you have anyone in your family with a sweet tooth, you can be the aroma will beckon anyone and everyone to your kitchen. The milky sweetness seems to draw everyone within smelling distance to my house.
- Add the water and rice to a large saucepan. Add the pieces of the cut-up cinnamon stick. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until rice has absorbed all the water.
- Scoop out cinnamon stick pieces. While the rice is still hot, add the condensed milk, the evaporated milk, the raisins, vanilla, and salt. Do NOT add the egg. Mix and heat over medium-high heat until it boils.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Scoop out about 1 cup of the mixture and slowly pour onto the lightly beaten eggs. Mix well.
- While the first rice mixture is over medium-low heat, SLOWLY pour in the egg mixture. Try to stir constantly as you do this so that the egg doesn't clot. Continue stirring constantly for two to three minutes to allow the egg mixture to heat through.
- You can serve immediately. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle a little cinnamon powder on top. You can also refrigerate and serve cold.
Polvorones or Mexican Wedding Cakes
A friend of mine lives in Mexico part of the year. A few years ago she had a party at her house shortly after arriving back in the States. She had these yummy little cakes that she called Mexican wedding cakes.
I think I gobbled up about 20 of them.
They're that good. They have an almost crumbly texture and I had to get my hands on the recipe. Since then, I enjoy these little cakes with tea and sometimes a light cheese on the side. They are so much fun to eat with family and friends at gatherings.
Because they're not that common a dessert where I live, they're always a conversation starter. Even my mom, with six kids and Mexican cuisine as her specialty didn't make these when I was younger.
Now, though, I can share this recipe with my mom. I always get a laugh when I see her secretly stashing a cake or two in her purse. She worked at a cooking school for nearly 15 years, so when I get her approval on a dish, I'm especially proud.
Here's my recipe for polvorones or Mexican wedding cakes.
Prep Time: About 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Ready In: 1.5 hours (because the dough has to sit for a time)
Yields: 18-24 cakes, depending on how big you make them
- 1 cup butter (margarine will work, too)
- 1 cup powdered sugar, divided into 1/2 cup portions
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- A pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp.)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. Combine the butter, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Use an electric blender at a low setting to cream the ingredients together.
2. When the mixture is free of any lumps (about 2 minutes), add the salt, followed by the pecans. SLOWLY add the flour, little by little, mixing with the electric mixer (still at a low setting) thoroughly as you go (about 2-4 minutes more).
3. When the dough is mixed through, chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. When the dough has been in the fridge for about 15 minutes, begin pre-heating the oven to 350.
4. With your hands, make little balls, about 1-2" in diameter. Put on ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cakes just start to brown - not too much, though.
6. Take out the cakes. Put the other 1/2 cup powdered sugar into a bowl. While the cookies are hot, place them into the bowl and either roll them around or sprinkle the powdered sugar all over them with your hands. You can "pat" the sugar on to help it stick.
7. Place them back onto the cookie sheet to continue cooling. When they're cool, roll them in the powdered sugar again.
5. Serve immediately with tea or another refreshing drink.
© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun
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