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What Are the Different Types of Spanish Desserts?

By Bobbie Fredericks
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are many desserts traditionally served in Spain. Turron, mantecados, and churros are just a few of the wide variety of Spanish desserts available. Some also enjoy bunuelos and polvorones. Many of these desserts are served at Christmas, which is a very important holiday in Spain. Almonds are a very popular ingredient in Spanish treats.

Turron is one of the Spanish desserts traditionally served for Christmas. It is a nougat-like candy made with almonds, honey, egg whites, sugar and lemon. This candy was first brought to Spain by the Moors when they invaded in the early 700s. They can be easily made at home, but they are also sold packaged, with varying degrees of quality.

Mantecados, simple shortbread cookies made of lard, flour, and sugar, are also popular Spanish desserts at Christmas time. Lemon, cinnamon or almond may be added for flavor. Manectados were invented in the 1500s and have been sold commercially since 1870.

Flan is an egg custard topped with caramel sauce, and one of the most popular Spanish desserts available worldwide. The sauce is put into the mold before the custard ingredients, so that it lies on top when the custard is inverted. Flan originated in Ancient Rome, and may have been popular in Spain since it was inhabited by barbarians. When the Moors invaded Spain they brought almonds; these are used in flan and many other Spanish desserts to add more flavor.

Churros are fried Spanish desserts or breakfast foods similar to donuts. The dough is made without yeast, and is pushed through a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to give it ridges. It is unknown how the churro got its start; some believe it was invented my shepherds, while others believe a similar treat was brought from China and altered to become the churro of today. In Spain, these fried desserts are usually served with a thick, hot chocolate sauce.

Bunuelos are also fired, donut-like dessert foods, typically filled with cream or chocolate, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. These are traditionally served on All-Saints Day. The recipe is thought to have come from the Sephardic Jews, who prepared a similar treat to celebrate Hanukkah.

Polvorones are almond cookies dusted with powdered sugar, and another type of dessert eaten at Christmas time. Like manectados, they are made with lard an very rich. The flour is toasted before use, and mixed with cinnamon for taste. They are also available commercially, but are usually made at home.

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