For Fabio Trabocchi's Spanish-born wife, Maria, it isn't Christmas without polvorones, crumbly Spanish almond cookies traditionally made with pork fat. Trabocchi developed this all-butter version while he and Maria were living in London and unable to find the Spanish original. Chef Holiday Recipes Made Easy More Cookie Recipes
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar, almond flour, all-purpose flour, zest, cinnamon, almond extract and a pinch of salt at moderately low speed until smooth. Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into thirds. Form each piece into a log; wrap the logs separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until slightly firm.
Preheat the oven to 300°. Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut each log crosswise into 20 pieces and roll into balls. Arrange the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Press an almond into each cookie. Bake for 45 minutes, rotating the pans twice, until the cookies are golden; let cool for 10 minutes, slide the parchment onto racks and let cool completely.
In a saucepan, cook the sugar in the water over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat to moderately high and cook without stirring until a medium-amber caramel forms. Off the heat, carefully pour in the cream and stir until smooth. Season with salt and transfer to a heatproof pitcher. Serve with the cookies.