Biscochitos

Biscochitos

Biscochitos (pronounced be-sko-cheeto) boast not just historical significance for being declared the first official state cookie in Union back in the late 1800s but also familial significance thanks go New Mexicans priding themselves on their clan’s unique riff on biscochitos (also known as bizcochitos) ever since. The classic Christmas cookie classic is traditionally rolled and cut into shapes, although those pressed for time or bored by such efforts can instead shape the dough into a log and simply slice and bake the rounds. The form is far less critical to the biscochitos experience than the flavor, which is where the truth behind this tradition lies—not too sweet with a faint touch of anise.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Yes, Lard In A Cookie Note

Yes, lard. In a cookie. We swear. It’s the rendered pig fat that lends the biscochitos the trademark phenomenally flaky texture.

Biscochitos

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes about 6 dozen

Special Equipment: 1 1/2- to 2-inch cookie cutters

5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Santa Fe School of Cooking: Celebrating the Foods of New Mexico cookbook

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups lard, preferably leaf lard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds, toasted*
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brandy

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly butter 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
  • 2. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
  • 3. In a large bowl, beat the lard with an electric or stand mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs, and anise seeds and beat until well incorporated.
  • 4. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and combine this with the lard mixture. Add the brandy and mix thoroughly.
  • 5. On a generously floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle the cookie shapes with the cinnamon sugar mixture and place the cookies on the prepared sheets, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • 6. Transfer the biscochitos to wire racks and let cool completely. (Store the cookies in airtight containers at room temperature or in the freezer.)

*Toasting Seeds Note

  • To toast anise seeds (or, for that matter, any seeds, including cumin, coriander, caraway, and so forth) place them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Allow to toast for about 2 1/2 minutes, stirring or shaking the skillet often, until fragrant. Immediately remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the seeds to a plate to stop the cooking.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

This biscochitos recipe makes exactly the kind of cookie I like. Super flaky and tender (could have a lot to do with the leaf lard I used), not too sweet, and a tiny bit herbal from the anise seed. It was also an incredibly easy dough to work—it came together quickly and rolled, cut, and (most importantly) transferred well from the work surface to the baking sheet. I started adding the flour to the lard mixture by hand but thought better of it and put it back in the stand mixer, which made it really easy. Also made adding the brandy a snap. I was able to roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness with no problem. I ended up with 10 dozen biscochitos. I used a ruler and pizza cutter to cut them into diamonds that were 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. I really like the end result. I might increase the anise just a little the next time but overall, really good. I will definitely make these biscochitos again.

This biscochitos recipe was what youʻd expect. The process was good and everything baked well. My husband brought them into his office and people loved them. While I found them a little on the savory side, they were quite popular.

Comments

  1. These are so addictive, and so good alongside a cup of hot tea. Bizcochitos have been a must-have in my holiday cookie selection ever since a friend gave me her family recipe (very similar to this one) years ago. I’ve made them with shortening when I had vegetarians to appease, but they are a pale shadow of the deliciousness that happens when they are made with lard.

    Last year during my holiday bake-a-thon, I realized I was out of brandy. Our area has strict beverage control laws, so just running to the nearest grocery for more brandy wasn’t an option. I had to improvise with what I had on hand. Madeira to the rescue! We liked them so much that I plan to use Madeira again this year…as sort of Portuguese-New Mexico marriage made in heaven.

  2. I make a family recipe that goes back well over a hundred years. Unfortunately I don’t know the name. It’s made with sugar, lard and flour…nothing else

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