There are a few things I really love about December: Extra time with Sean, our national quad family Christmas card exchange ("Look! We're normal!"), and baking up a batch of biscochitos.
Growing up in New Mexico, I certainly ate my fair share of the sugary Christmas cookies that are so well known and loved, but there is another cookie that is distinctly New Mexican, and a tradition in many households: Biscochitos (bis-coe-chee-toes)!
It makes me really happy to share these with you! In fact, this post has been planned for a year...as in, I took all of these photos last Christmas. I still need to make this year's batch, and hope to do that next week. BUT, if I wait that long to share the recipe with you, then you might not have time to make them. So here you go!
This recipe was passed from my aunt, to my mom, to me. My copy is on a piece of paper with a handwritten note at the top that says, "from 'The Best of New Mexico Kitchens.'" I always try to credit sources, so I did a Google search to look for a book with that title. I'm assuming it is this, The Best of New Mexico Kitchens, but I'm not entirely sure.
It's a short ingredients list, and you should have most of it on hand!
In a separate bowl, cream the lard (traditionally) or vegetable shortening, sugar, and anise seed.
Let's stop for a minute and talk about anise (a-nees) seed. It isn't as well known as a lot of herbs, but is pretty cheap. Tones is one of the cheapest spice brands, and the smallest containers lasts me a good 3-4 batches of cookies. It has a licorice taste to it, but the flavor is not overwhelming in these cookies. It's really an interesting flavor, so give it a try if you haven't in the past!
Back to the recipe: Then add the eggs to the creamed mixture.
Followed by the brandy....
Mix it up, and it will look like this:
In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon together to top the cookies once you roll them out!
Roll your dough out with a rolling pin, and use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. The traditional shape is the fleur-de-lis, but I don't have that cookie cutter, so I used a circle last year and a heart the year before. It's kind of whatever cookie cutter I come across first.
Lay them out on a cookie sheet, sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar on top, then bake!
They have a drier texture than sugar Christmas cookies, but are just as delicious! They are also kind of addicting. You've been warned!
Traditional New Mexican Christmas Cookies
- 6 cups Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 2 cups of Lard (or you can use vegetable shortening)
- 1 1/2 cups of Granulated Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Anise Seed
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 cup Brandy
- 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
Sift flour in a bowl with baking powder and salt. Mix well.
Cream lard, 1 1/2 cups of Sugar, and anise seed in a mixture until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the brandy and flour mixture to the bowl and mix until combined.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. They cookies will be thin! Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a mixture of 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. They will be lightly browned and delicious!
Do you have a cookie that is part of your Christmas traditions?