Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Biscochitos (New Mexico's Official State Cookie)


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!

If you like this recipe, please try my Biscochito Tiramisu recipe!! These cookies and the tiramisu recipe were featured in Albuquerque the Magazine in the September 2012 issue!


Secrets to my family's biscochitos:

Before: Whole anise seeds
After: ground anise seeds
1. Grind the anise seeds to release the oils.



Lard!
2. Use lard! I know it sounds gross, but you gotta use it.




Creamed lard
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!


Biscochitos
A T&H family recipe

Ingredients:
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 eggs
2 c. lard (a small 16 oz. carton)
1/4 c. white wine (I like to use a semi-sweet wine, like a Riesling)

Topping:
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbs. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift flour with baking powder and salt.
  3. 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.)
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  5. Mix in flour mixture and white wine until well blended.
  6. 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!)
  7. 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).
  8. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter.
  9. Mix the 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tbsp of cinnamon in a small bowl.
  10. Dip tops of the cut out cookies in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  11. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges start to turn a golden color.
  12. Remove from oven and immediately dip the tops of the cookies again in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  13. 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.



36 comments:

  1. Never heard of these cookies, but they sure look very tempting! Great recipe! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day!

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  2. I've never tried this type of cookie, but I'm loving this recipe! Any cookie made with Riesling sounds like a winner to me! They look delicious :)

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  3. Isn't it funny how our tastes change as we get a little older!? I feel the same way about meatloaf and brussels sprouts - hated them as a kid but love them now.

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    Replies
    1. Haha, I'm in the same boat with meatloaf and brussel sprouts... coming around too! :-)

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  4. I can totally see why this would be one of your favorite cookies. I must give this one a try.

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  5. I have never heard of these cookies before! They sound and look delicious! I love anise so I will be trying these soon! Thx. Ceecee

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    Replies
    1. Yes, please try and let me know how you like them! Have a great day!

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  6. ohh, a cookie made with Riesling?! I''m very intrigued!

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  7. YUM! Are you from NM!?!??! I work for a NM senator! (I bet you can guess who it is! :D)

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    Replies
    1. Either Bingaman or Udall, right? :-) How cool, it's a small world!! You could always whip up this recipe and give him a little taste of home! ;-) I'll be in your neck of the woods next week!

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  8. these sound so interesting!! definitely on my to-try list now!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Please let me know if you do and how they turn out! Have a wonderful day, Jenn!

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  9. It's funny... we lived in New Mexico for a couple years, but I've never heard of biscochitos. It sounds like something my husband would love! I'm going to have to give these a try!

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    Replies
    1. Awww, you would've love them! I hope you try these out and that you and your husband enjoy them!

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  10. You have made me miss HOME SO much!

    I used to love driving over to the Mexican bakery and getting some biscochitos. I think they're definitely an aquired taste! But, I find that those of us that like them, are just SO much more sophisticated than the rest! ;)

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    Replies
    1. Jen, I should've realized you were originally from here! I remember you saying your mom is here and another time when you visited that awesome Greek place, I should've asked! Biscochitos are some of the best things in the world. :-) I'd also add that real New Mexican food is too, it's unlike any other. Sending you some virtual biscochitos and red/green chile! :-)

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  11. These look delicious, and it is always wonderful to keep up a family food tradition.

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  12. Hi, there! I love these cookies...my husband's grandmother called them horarascas, and she gave me her super-secret recipe before she passed. I'd love to share them on my blog, but I'm afraid she'll haunt me from beyond if I give up her secrets :lol:! Yours came out really pretty!! I hope you try the panna cotta and enjoy it...thanks for coming by my blog.

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  13. I love traditional Food ! Love the name of this cookie too! Mexican food, hurray!

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  14. family recipes are the BEST! i have heard of these, but have never tried to make them. That changes like, right now: i can't wait to make these for myself! i won't lie, i'm slightly scared of lard, but i'll get over it if this is end result. :)

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  15. These cookies look amazing!!!! My neighbor gave us some homemade Biscochitos this year around the holidays and they were amazing. So glad you posted this recipe!

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  16. Yummo, I can see why it is the official state cookie - it looks so amazing :D
    Thank you!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  17. I was lucky enough to live in Santa Fe for 10 years, early 80's - 90's. There was soooo much that I loved about this city: the food, the culture, the smell of pinon in the air and walking downtown. Another one of my fav's was the Biscochito...thanks for the recipe! I'll be making them soon along with your Tiramisu recipe.

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  18. Hi Renee, I'm finishing work on a dessert from every state story and would love to include a link to your biscochito recipe (I've also emailed you on April 10). Please contact me soon if it's ok to link--I look forward to hearing from you!
    Best regards, Mark

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  19. Thank you for this recipe. My husband was raised in Albuquerque NM and we have eaten biscochitos on several occasions. I made these today and they are very good. The only change I would make is to add a bit more anise the next time.

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  20. if we don't cook with wine is there a substitute ?

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    Replies
    1. You can use brandy, rum, or whiskey.

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    2. My mother-in-law uses Anesette liqueur in her biscochitos. Melt in you mouth heaven.

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  21. My Grandma used to take the anise seeds and crush them between the palms of her hands. I loved to watch her make biscochitos. I have found that these cookies are usually only known to the people of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Soul food for us :)

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  22. My grandma used to crush the anise seed between the palms of her hands to release the oils of the seeds. I loved watching her bake! Biscochitos are soul food for many of us who have deep roots in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

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  23. Thanks soooooooo much for the recipe! We lived in New Mexico for a total of 14 years throughout my husband's military career; long enough to be ALMOST native, right? We love the food most of all. There is nothing like New Mexican food anywhere else in the world. That sounds so cliche', but its completely true. I have told my kids over the years that I had to learn to cook so we could have the wonderful food that we loved so much from all over the world! I'm sitting in Indiana visiting family and missing the spiciness of New Mexico. I think I'm going to give them a little taste today with some New Mexican Christmas cookies. Thanks again for the recipe!

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    Replies
    1. Not cliche at all because it's true! We have some of the best food in the world! Please let me know if you make the recipe and how it turns out! Happy holidays to you and your family!

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  24. DOES ANY ONE KNOW IF YOU CAN MAKE THESE COOKIES WITH A COOKIE PRESS. I NEED TO MAKE MANY FOR A GRADUATION PARTY AND I DON'T HAVE TIME TO ROLL THEM. PLEASAE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  25. My mother was from NM and I make all the NM foods. She always made biscochitos at Christmastime. Now, I make them. They're my favorite sugar cookie. I buy my lard from a farmer about 15 miles from my home. I suggest that you try to find a farmer who sells it. It will be pure lard with no preservatives. Lard has gotten a bad rap. Actually, it has many of the same properties as olive oil.

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  26. These are one of our families favorite cookies! In fact, they are our Christmas cookie of choice. You always know the holidays are coming when all the cousins start posting photos of their biscochos or talking about preparing for tamale making. Our recipe seems very similar to yours and anise is definitely the star of the show. I enjoyed your story of your grandmother and my condolences on her passing. I'm sure she is bragging up a storm in Heaven. Maybe she will meet my Tia Nico who was the aunt that showed us all how to make and bake these cookies and they can share tips and ideas. :)

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  27. Just want to say this is my third year using thos recipe. I've live in Northern NM for over 20 years and this is the best recipe for biscochitos I've found.

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