pussycat polvorones

pussycat polvorones | movita beaucoup

I have a friend. Her name is Pussycat. I’m Owl, and she’s Pussycat. You know, like the Edward Lear poem. The one about the owl that falls in love with a cat? They went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat? Read a book for cripes’ sake. Anyhoo, I met Pussycat when we were at the National Ballet School together. We became fast friends. She’s a few years younger than I am, but way braver. She’ll just leap and hope the net appears. Not me. Not this Owl. I created Security Check for this humble abode. It’s a 20-point security check that I perform each and every time I leave the house and before we shut down for the evening. Three times. (That’s the key to Security Check success: repetition.)

Pussycat is one of the funniest people I know, and a more loyal and true friend would be hard to find. She’s also a doer. I mean, dancers always say they’re going to go to New York City to dance, but most of them don’t ever do it. But as I was leaving Toronto to return to my ocean home, Pussycat actually did it. She moved to NYC. And – brace yourselves – she bakes on the side. Like, as a job. Way cool, right?

Today is Pussycat’s birthday. I’ve been thinking about Pussycat a lot lately. We haven’t seen each other in years. I’ve let the distance between us grow too far. And Pussycat has been sick. Only 34 years old when she got her diagnosis. When I got her email in June telling me that she was heading to Toronto for treatment, I could hardly breathe. All I could think was: this sucks balls.

pussycat polvorones | movita beaucoup

Now, Pussycat would punch me in the face if I droned on and on about how pathetic sick people are. Kitty’s got claws. So I won’t. But I’ll tell you something mega rock-your-socks exciting. I’m going to visit Pussycat while she’s in Toronto. A long overdue reunion. And we’re going to bake. Stuff that could one day be sold at The Owl and Pussycat Bake Shop. Because when I win the lottery, that sucker’s gunna get opened. But for now, it’s an imaginary bakeshop that exists only in my brain.

pussycat polvorones | movita beaucoup

Pussycat had these cookies once. Rosie Beaucoup made them for her – that was about ten years ago. And Pussycat has been beggin’ for the recipe ever since. That tells you a little something about how tasty they are. And I guess all that purring and rubbing up against us has finally paid off, because Rosie gave me the recipe. She gave it to me so I could share it with Pussycat. I’ve had it for weeks – but I’ve been waiting to post it until today. A little birthday treat for Pussycat.

Side note: sometimes 2.0 will ask something like: when is Hawk going to visit Muskrat? And I’ll say: Owl and Pussycat, doofus. (Mother of pearl.)

pussycat polvorones | movita beaucoup

Polvorones are like a shortbread or sugar cookie. But these have anise in them. So when you bake them, your kitchen will smell like cinnamon and anise. You will feel soothed and warm. You might want to curl up in a sunny patch for a little nap. They are perfect with tea. Perfect for the holidays. Purrfect anytime of year.

So, dear Pussycat, soon I’ll be packing my bag and heading out in a beautiful pea green boat. I will find you and we will dance by the light of the moon. And if I see a shooting star, I’ll wish that you never got sick. But for now, I’ll wish you the happiest of birthdays. And many, oh, so many, happy returns.

. . .

Pussycat Polvorones

recipe: adapted from Marilyn Cahill, 3rd place winner Chicago Tribune’s 1996 Annual Holiday Cookie Contest

print and bake

Yields 2 1/2 to 3 dozen.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seed, finely crushed (I use the rocking motion of knife blade to pulverize the seeds)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, anise seed, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until well combined. Stir in the pecans.

Put the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a shallow bowl or plate with a lip. Using a tablespoon, scoop dough and roll between the palms of your hands to make round balls. (I use slightly less than a tablespoon for each ball.) Roll each dough ball in the sugar. Place the dough balls 5 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Press each ball with bottom of a glass to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and golden on the edges. Allow to cool completely on racks.


  1. leaf (the indolent cook) on November 7, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Happy birthday to Pussycat and I hope everything goes well. Have a great time together, enjoying delicious polvorones!

  2. glutenfreezen on November 7, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Happy birthday to Pussycat and a full recovery so you two can have many more adventures together for years to come. Your mother’s cookies look and sound lovely! My Christmas cookie list is growing and growing, but this recipe will definitely be at the top. Oh, and with a traveling husband, I’m a serious supporter of the 20 point security check at my house. 😉

    • movita beaucoup on November 8, 2011 at 7:56 am

      2.0 travels a lot, and though he makes fun of Security Check, I’d like to point out that our house is still standing…

  3. Mel on November 7, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Happy Birthday to Pussycat! These cookies look amazing. Have a great time in Toronto!

  4. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen on November 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

    1. I have my own “pussycats” of a friend. This inspired me to remind them of how thankful i am for their presence.
    2. I hope you have fun in the overdue reunion and i look forward to reading pussycat & owl’s bake goods.
    3. Lastly, send me some, pretty please!!! please….. :p

  5. Savory Simple on November 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Beautiful photos as always!

  6. Emmalina on November 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Sending pussy a jar of honey, plenty of money, wrapped up in a five pound note (what else?). Rock that pea green boat of friendship and watch the stars together, sounds like it was a lucky star that brought you two together xxx

  7. Ann on November 8, 2011 at 2:38 am

    I can see a glimpse of the beauty of your friendship just from the way you wrote this post! I hope your trip goes well, I am sure she loves having you with her. 🙂 Here’s hoping and praying she heals very soon!

  8. movita beaucoup on November 8, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Thanks, all! Odds are, Pussycat will make me blow milk out my nose on day one, so all will be as it should be…

  9. Just A Smidgen on November 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I’ve just discovered your blog… love it and the cookies look delicious. Lucky Pussycat to have you for a friend!

  10. veggiehead on November 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Not only are your pictures beautiful, but your writing is so fun to read! 🙂

  11. Sharon on November 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Call me a piggy-wig, but I really want some of these! Anise + Cookies = Fabulous. Happy trip, and happy birthday to the kitty!

  12. deelicioussweets on November 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Lovely treats for a dear sweet kitty! Owl is a wise one to have kitty as a friend. Have a good trip and Happy Birthday kitty!

  13. Eggton on November 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Now when my Christmas present from you comes wrapped in one of those ribbons, I am going to know it has cookie all over it. Gah.

    • movita beaucoup on November 8, 2011 at 10:59 pm

      You say that like it’s a bad thing…

  14. Tina@flourtrader on November 9, 2011 at 11:28 am

    This was an amazing read about the true value of friendship! Happy birthday to your favorite cat and I am sure the reunion will be a fun and memorable time. Be sure that you post some of your goodies, I imagine the owl and the pussycat are a great team in the kitchen!
    I am ready to go on a shortbread binge…yum!

  15. Yadsia @ShopCookMake on November 11, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    the comment you just left in my Blog really made my day! It’s great to know that people appreciate my photos even when I think they are not that good. Congrats on getting a new camera! I love the thrill of new things. We’ll see how it works for us. DSLR’s can be VERY confusing. Have you read ‘Plate to Pixel’? It’s an excellent book!

    By the way, Polvorones are my favorite cookie in the world. My aunt makes the best ones I’ve ever tasted. I love how every culture has their own version. Each one of them being so crumbly and delicious.

    • movita beaucoup on November 12, 2011 at 7:06 am

      Well, I’ve loved your blog for a long time, and I think you’re fantastic! I can’t wait to see how you use that DSLR to your advantage…

      I’ll be waiting for your aunt’s recipe to make an appearance on your blog!

  16. susanna eve on November 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Your post made me cry, in fact I was reading it out loud to T. and barely got through it. I hope your friend does well with her treatment, love and laughter never hurt in any case. The cookies look lovely, if I didn’t hate anise flavor with a passion I would make some.

    • movita beaucoup on November 13, 2011 at 11:57 pm

      You know, Pussycat is a real trooper. We’ll do lots of laughing. And lots of baking. And we’ll try to avoid anise…

  17. Emily Lynne / The Best of this Life on May 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Happy birthday to your dear friend. I wish her health and happiness! Baking is just the thing to lift the spirits and those cookies look heavenly 🙂

  18. 12 Days of Cookies: Day Three « Whisks & Words on December 15, 2012 at 9:34 am

    […] re-post one of her older recipes. This one, for White Chocolate Coconut Shortbreads, has a bit of a backstory of movita’s friendship with pussycat, with whom she makes the […]

  19. movita beaucoup on June 2, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in November 2011. Happy baking!