Biscochitos

These biscochitos are a New Mexican Christmas cookie classic. Their trademark flaky texture and flavor comes from using lard in the dough, along with cinnamon, sugar, anise, and brandy.

A pile of diamond-shaped biscochitos in a wooden bowl.

Biscochitos (pronounced be-sko-chee-to) boast historical significance for being declared the first official state cookie by New Mexico back in the late 1800s. The classic Christmas cookie 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, though, than the truth behind the tradition, which is the flaky texture, lent to the cookie by rendered lard, and the taste, which is not too sweet and with a faint touch of anise. Yes, lard in a cookie.–Renee Schettler

Biscochitos

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes 72 cookies
5/5 - 4 reviews
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Special Equipment: 1 1/2- to 2-inch cookie cutters

Ingredients


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly butter 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

In a large bowl with an electric or stand mixer, beat the lard until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs, and anise seeds and beat until well incorporated.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and combine this with the lard mixture. Add the brandy and mix thoroughly.

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.

Transfer the biscochitos to wire racks and let cool completely. (Store the cookies in airtight containers at room temperature or in the freezer.)

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    *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.

    Recipe Testers' Tips

    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.

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    Comments

    1. Being an Italian living in New Mexico, we make Biscotti and Biscochitos. Both are versions of one another since they have the anise flavor that I love. Thanks for this very authentic recipe. Yes, the lard is important for the right texture.

      1. Thanks, Tamra! So glad you enjoyed them. Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

    2. My Biscochitos: They turned out great. Easy recipe. I used half butter/half Crisco, a few drop anise oil. I toasted the seeds. Fireball whiskey. My kitchen smelled amazing. 🎄

    3. All recipes I’ve seen for biscochitos are large–6 cups flour. Has anyone tried cutting the recipe in half?

      Gloria Bernal
      Murrieta CA

    4. 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

    5. 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.

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