Today we’re getting ready for the annual “galletada” with my mother, sisters and all the kids (my sons, my nephew and my niece.) We always make decorated sugar cookies but sometimes we each bring already prepared cookies of other varieties to share. This morning I decided to make biscochitos.
Biscochitos (often misspelled “bizcochitos”) are a holiday tradition passed generation to generation for many families in New Mexico where my older sister lived for a few years. One of the souvenirs she sent me back while living there were these anise seed cookies with a unique licorice-like flavor I really liked, so I looked up recipes and made them myself many times over the years even though Carlos isn’t that fond of them. (He says that anise is used as a home remedy in El Salvador so they taste medicinal to him.)
Anyway, if you want to give them a try, my recipe is below. Unlike traditional biscochitos, I use butter, even though New Mexicans will insist that to be authentic, you must use lard. My older sister is vegetarian which is why I usually use butter, but please feel free to sub lard for butter in the recipe. It will give it a slightly different texture, (which many much prefer!)
Biscochitos (New Mexican Anise Seed Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (you can use lard)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons anise seed
2 tablespoons vanilla extract (you can use rum)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl. Next beat in the egg, anise seed and vanilla extract.
2. In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture little by little until combined. Do not over mix.
3. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Once chilled, roll out on a floured surface. The thinner you make them, the crunchier they’ll be, so if you’d like them to be a little softer, roll them out thicker. Use a drinking glass dusted with flour or a cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles or desired shape. Carefully move the cookies to a foil-lined greased cookie sheet.
4. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ½ cup sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Set aside.
5. Bake the cookies at 350 F until they’re starting to brown at the edges. Sprinkle the cookies with the cinnamon sugar mixture while still hot. Allow to cool and serve.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.