Friday, December 12, 2014

New Mexico Biscochitos

By Cheryl Alters Jamison

The New Mexico state cookie, an anise- and cinnamon-scented delight, is served at every December gathering short of a fast-food breakfast. Lori Delgado shares this scrumptious recipe, which began with Agnes Trujillo, a friend of her mother-in-law, Angie’s. 

Whether you spell it biscochito or bizcochito, you’ll call these cookies wonderful.

Makes about 6 dozen medium-size cookies

  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound lard, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tablespoons ground anise seeds
  • ½ cup orange juice, fresh or from concentrate
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) whiskey
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the cookies
  • Preheat oven to 425° F.
  • Sift together 5 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat lard in electric mixer, gradually adding sugar until extremely light and fluffy; about 8 minutes. Stop mixer every couple minutes to scrape down sides of mixing bowl. Add eggs singly, beating in each one before adding the next. 
  • Mix in dry ingredients, beating only until incorporated. Add anise seeds, whiskey, and orange juice. A stiff, pie-crust–like dough is what you’re after. Add some or all of remaining flour, as needed, to get proper consistency.
  • Spoon dough into cookie press, if you wish. Push out dough into shaped cookies onto cookie sheets. If you don’t have a cookie press or prefer to make them with cookie cutters, the dough can be rolled out ¼ inch thick on floured work surface and cut into favorite shapes, then arranged on cookie sheets. In either case, avoid handling the dough more than necessary.
  • Bake cookies 12 to 15 minutes.

For the topping
  • While cookies bake, stir together topping ingredients.

  • Transfer cookies onto baking racks to cool.
  • Gently roll cookies in topping mixture. If not eaten sooner, cookies will keep for a week.

*This article was first published in an online extra December 2013 issue of New Mexico Magazine