Monday, November 23, 2015

Biscochitos - New Mexico's beloved holiday cookie

Officially dedicated as New Mexico’s state cookie in 1989, Biscochitos are typically made at Christmas and are a beloved holiday tradition. Their unique flavor comes from anise seed and brandy. 

If you can’t find the seeds, anise extract is an option. And, if you must, you can use vegetable shortening, but it's the lard that gives these little cookies their light and flaky texture.

A few more holiday cookie recipes worth adding to your list like French Coconut Madeleines and Greek Finikia are featured in the December issue of Boomers and Beyond

Yield: 5 dozen

2 cups sugar, divided
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups lard or vegetable shortening
2 eggs
2 teaspoons anise seeds, toasted or ½ teaspoon anise extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup brandy

Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease cookie sheets. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine ½ cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Cream lard until fluffy. Add the remaining 1 ½ cups sugar, eggs, and anise seeds or anise extract and beat until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Combine with shortening mixture. Add brandy and mix thoroughly.

On a well-floured surface, roll dough out about ¼ inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle cookies with cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to cooling racks, and when completely cooled, place in airtight containers or freeze.

(Recipe adapted from Santa Fe School of Cooking, Celebrating the Foods of New Mexico, Gibbs Smith, 2015)

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