Desserts always play a fundamental part in any menu, even more so when it comes to big celebrations such as Christmas. Many are the sweets that accompany us on the tables after the great starters and popular recipes such as Catalan-style cannelloni, lamb or baked sea bream.
Without a doubt, the following traditional Christmas treats and desserts cannot be missing from these celebrations, which are so important for so many. Many of them are well known and have been with us since ancient times, but surely there are several of them unknown to many!
Marzipan is a traditional Christmas dessert whose main ingredients are almonds and sugar. In Toledo we can find marzipan in its bakeries all year round despite the widespread tradition in the rest of Spain of eating it at Christmas. The association with Christmas is linked to the time of the reign of Philip II, who decided to distribute sweets to those less fortunate at this important time.
Polvorones are a type of light and crumbly shortbread very typical in Spain during Christmas. In Spanish, polvo means “dust”, which explains why polvorones have this name; in the mouth they crumble into what feels like dust. However, polvorones were born as a way of detecting whether there were Muslims or Jews hiding in the regions of Southern Spain. Since they were made with pork lard, they could not eat them because of their faith. Nowadays they are the sweet par excellence during Christmas.
Roscón de reyes is one of those recipes that will never be lost due to its tradition and capacity to delight practically everyone. With cream or truffle or without filling, the brioche used to prepare this rosca has intense orange blossom and butter flavours that will not leave anyone indifferent. Also present in the south of France, few desserts have earned such a special place at Christmas time throughout our geography.
Like many of the desserts and Christmas treats on this list, the simple ingredients of mantecados are the fundamental basis for preparing this marvel of cuisine. Flour, sugar and butter create a sandy but mouth-watering result at the same time. Without a doubt, mantecados can’t be missing from any Christmas assortment.
There are several turrones in Spain, including the typical turrón from Aragón and those from Xixona and Alicante, also known as “blando” and “duro”, which come from the beautiful Valencian province of Alicante. All of them revolve around the almond, a product that has deeply marked the gastronomy of the whole country.
Roscos de vino are typical Christmas treats in the form of a doughnut; with a dough similar to polvorones and mantecados, although somewhat firmer and not as sandy. They are so called because sweet wine is among their ingredients. They have a characteristic snowy touch thanks to the outer layer created by the powdered sugar batter. Roscos de vino are traditional in Málaga and some areas of La Mancha. In this way you can prepare some roscos de vino with traditional and quality ingredients.
The Andalusian alfajores are a traditional Andalusian sweet. There are many variations of this sweet, but they all agree that honey, almonds and spices must be present. In fact, it is believed that the presence of honey and nuts, present in many Andalusian recipes, comes from the Moorish and Jewish influence in this region of Spain. The alfajores corroborate this theory, as they were originally called alajú; from the Arabic term al-hasú meaning “filling”. Their presence in southern Spain has been known since the 12th century.
One of the favourite Christmas treats for those who love chocolate, the perfect choice for a little treat after dinner, even though it is difficult not to repeat. With its bonbon shape, these truffles are made of melted black chocolate, butter, powdered sugar, egg yolk and buttermilk. We use to find it next to Christmas decorations. A great option can be to cook it yourself with the help of your family. Delicious bites!
Casadielles or casadiella is a typical sweet from Asturias. It is a kind of fried and sweet turnover; filled with a mixture of nuts, sugar and aniseed. It is typical to take them at Christmas and during Carnival (Antroxu), although it depends on the area and the tradition of each family. There are two ways to prepare this Asturian sweet: by making the dough and then frying it, or with puff pastry which is then made in the oven. With regard to their origin, the presence of nuts can be associated with pre-Roman traditions.
The cordiales, typical of the region of Murcia and especially of the Campo de Cartagena; Christmas treats made from a dough of ground almond, cabello de ángel, sugar, egg and lemon peel. A dessert baked and golden on the outside that is undoubtedly a perfect ending to a Christmas menu.
Almond soup is such a traditional dessert that it is a must in many homes on December 24th and 31st. A hot dessert based on milk, almond paste and bread that undoubtedly has a humble origin. A preparation that can be eaten hot or warm before having some turrón, enjoying the aromas of almonds and cinnamon.