|Bisochitos (New Mexico's Official State Cookie)|
This is a very special recipe that I'm sharing with you today! This is one of my favorite recipes in the whole wide world! Ever heard of biscochitos? These delightful little cookies are the official state cookie of New Mexico. There are several variations of this recipe, but the flavors are the same... cinnamon sugar and anise. Some people use shortening instead of lard. Some people use anise oil instead of the real thing. Some people use brandy or rum instead of white wine. And then there's the measurements of the ingredients.
I'll be honest with you. When I was growing up, I just didn't get why people liked biscochitos. They were boring. I only liked them when my grandma put frosting on them. And depending on who made them, sometimes they weren't sweet. So I spent the first 20 years of my life not really eating biscochitos. And I loved that they seem to be a holiday treat or a special occasion treat, which now seems like a crime! (Though I have to admit that I usually only make them for Christmas because they can be time consuming. But I really should make them more often!)
As the story usually goes with me, one day I found myself craving biscochitos. Homemade biscochitos. My mom took a recipe we found and asked my grandma how she made hers. With my grandma's adjustments and hints, I made my first batch of biscochitos.
Now every year, I make biscochitos to give away during the holidays. And it seems like every year I never make enough, even though one batch makes about 8 dozen cookies.
My biscochitos are the sweeter kind, but not overly so. There are some that make them that aren't sweet at all or mildly sweet. I also make mine a little more thin-- a little less than 1/4 inch thin (some people make them like 1/2 or more in thickness). I find that when they're thinner as well as creaming the lard (have to use lard!), the cookies melt in your mouth a little bit more. And I also dip them in the cinammon sugar mixture before AND after they bake.
I hope that you'll give biscochitos a try. They're different, but they're homey for me. New Mexican comfort food, definitely!
Secrets to my family's biscochitos:
|Before: Whole anise seeds|
|After: ground anise seeds|
1. Grind the anise seeds to release the oils.
2. Use lard! I know it sounds gross, but you gotta use it.
3. Cream the lard until very fluffy. Kinda like frosting consistency. About 5 minutes.
|St. Clair's Riesling|
4. Use good inexpensive white wine. I like to use a sweeter wine & to support New Mexico wines!
My grandma says to use the cheapest thing or stuff you wouldn't drink,
but why would you want to have that on hand?
(Though hers were good and she used to use my grandpa's AWFUL homemade wine!)
|Official state cookie of New Mexico|
|One of my favorite cookies!|
|Check out the detail of all that goodness!|
A T&H family recipe
6 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 tsp. anise seed (freshly ground or smashed to release the oils)
2 c. lard (a small 16 oz. carton)
1/4 c. white wine (I like to use a semi-sweet wine, like a Riesling)
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbs. cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift flour with baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, cream lard with sugar and freshly ground anise seeds until fluffy. (This is a very important step because you want a lot of air incorporated into the lard because it helps make the cookies lighter.)
- Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Mix in flour mixture and white wine until well blended.
- Refrigerate 1-2 hours. (Cover with plastic wrap so the dough doesn't dry out.) (Also, this is NOT a type of cookie dough you want to eat raw. So don't even try it!)
- Turn out portions of dough out on a floured surface and roll out to desired thickness (I usually like it about 1/4 of an inch thick).
- Cut into shapes with cookie cutter.
- Mix the 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tbsp of cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Dip tops of the cut out cookies in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges start to turn a golden color.
- Remove from oven and immediately dip the tops of the cookies again in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Place cookies on cooling sheet and allow to cool completely. (Don’t try to taste them right out of the oven… they’re only good after they’ve cooled completely.)
Makes about 8 dozen cookies, depending on the size.