Biscochitos

biscochitos

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!)

biscochitos3

Biscochitos (New Mexican Anise Seed Cookies

You need:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (you can use lard)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
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

For topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

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.

biscochitos2

Posted on December 21, 2013, in celebration, Culture, food/drink, history, holiday, recipes. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. What a fun tradition! I think I’m inspired enough that we may have to bake some cookies with the kids tomorrow.

    About the anise…I never even knew it was a spice until I went to Bolivia, got sick, and was given té de anís and thought, “this tastes like licorice.” I did always love Twizzlers. :)

    • I usually like the smell of licorice but not the taste so much — not sure why I like these cookies that being the case! … I wonder if I’d like that tea they gave you. Did you feel it helped?

      Hope you have fun baking cookies. I bet the kids will love it!

      • I’m not sure if it helped…it might have. I’ve never been a tea drinker and probably only took a few sips of it anyway. You should try it if you like tea…it’s not too strong.

        My husband is a HUGE tea drinker and it’s kind of a joke around here. One night, our daughter woke up crying complaining about her stomach and I was worried. He said half-asleep, “Just make her a cup of tea, she’ll be fine”. I doubted that and said I was taking her to the ER. It turned out it was her appendix! Now, if anyone has a problem, we just say, “Have a cup of tea and you’ll feel better.”

        ps. jaja…I didn’t know that about standing up when you eat cookies, the calories don’t count! Really, I’m not sure I ever ate one sitting down :)

        We didn’t get to the cookies today…hopefully tomorrow!

      • That’s hilarious about the tea! (Glad your daughter is ok!)… I’ll have to look for a recipe for anise tea and try it. I imagine one just steeps the seeds in hot water? Carlos always has stomach issues so I could try it out on him, too.

        And yes, that’s totally true about the cookie calories ;)

  2. Your cookies look so airy. Maybe that applies to the calories, too? Hahaha.

    They look delish, though. Definitely on my to-do list. So thanks for the recipe!

    • Hi Deli! … The thicker you roll the dough, the softer they’ll be, but I definitely wouldn’t categorize it as a soft cookie in general. I rolled some thinner than the ones in the photos and they were nice and crunchy – but even these in the photos here would be considered crunchy for the most part.

      As for calories, I’ve heard that the ones you eat standing up don’t count ;)

      Thanks for the comment!

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