BIZCOCHITOS (OFFICIAL STATE COOKIE OF NEW MEXICO)

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There are two things that I am about to confess that could possibly make you uncomfortable or at the very least, lower what little esteem you might otherwise have for me. But I am willing to take that chance because I feel strongly about both issues. So, if you aren’t afraid of what I might say, continue reading. Just remember – you were warned.

First of all, I don’t like Snickerdoodles. (In my estimation, they’re boring.) Secondly, I tend to be a real cynic when it comes to politicians. (Maybe I listen to too much NPR?) But there – I’ve stated my position for all to see and I feel better for having done so. Now, you ask, what does all this have to do with a cookie recipe? (An excellent question BTW!)

Well first of all, these cookies are like Snickerdoodles, but as Mr. C remarked (BTW, he doesn’t like Snickerdoodles either), “the cookies are like Snickerdoodles, but on steroids”! (He loves them, in other words.)

And my remark about politicians, well my opinion of politicians was reaffirmed when I read about the New Mexico legislature that voted in 1989 to make Bizcochitos the state cookie of New Mexico. As with all legislative matters, it seems to me that there must be dissension. (Must be an implied amendment, probably tucked into the Bill of Rights somewhere between the right to keep and bear arms and the guarantee of a speedy, public trial with an impartial jury.) Anyway, it seems the New Mexico legislature agreed immediately that the Biscochitos/Bizcochitos should indeed be the state cookie. But in what seems to me to be typical legislative posturing, they had to argue about something. So they apparently duked it out over the spelling of the cookie name. Really?? The spelling??

Regardless, I must give them credit for their choice of the state cookie. Because if ever a cookie should receive accolades, or the title of “state cookie”, it is this amazing creation. And the best part, they are really easy to prepare.

So next time you want to make a cookie that is just a little different, has a taste that is very unique, and isn’t a Snickerdoodle, give this recipe a try. I promise you will become as hooked as we are.

And if anyone from the 1989 New Mexico legislature is reading this post, (like that’s even remotely probable) I offer sincere condolences for the sleep you must have lost over making such an important, life changing decision. Hopefully other issues on the docket that year didn’t require the expenditure of as much thought provoking, soul searching time to reach an adequate result.

  • 1 c. lard*, chilled (yep, lard!)
  • ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter*
  • 1 c. plus 3 T. sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. anise seeds, finely ground in a spice grinder
  • 3 T. good bourbon or brandy**
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Beat the lard, butter, and 1 cup of the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground anise seeds. Add to creamed mixture along with the bourbon. Beat no longer than necessary to incorporate the dry ingredients. Chill for about 45 minutes or until the dough is no longer soft. Form the cookies using either of the methods described below.

1)      Using a small ice cream scoop, drop the cookies onto a plate covered with a combination of the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. (Don’t roll the balls in the mixture.) Place the cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheets sugar side up. Flatten each ball to about a ¼-inch thickness with the bottom of a glass. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until tops of cookies are just set and a pale golden color. Cool cookies on wire racks. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

2)      Roll out the dough between waxed paper to just over ¼-inch thick. Cut with flour dusted cutters into desired shapes or cut into 2-inch rounds. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon on a small plate. Dip the unbaked cookies into the cinnamon-sugar mixture on one side. Place cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheets (sugar side up). Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until tops of cookies are just set and a pale golden color. Cool cookies on wire racks. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week. This recipe is based on Jane Butel’s Biscochitos recipe.

*1 cup butter and ½ cup vegetable shortening can be substituted for the lard and butter amounts reflected in my recipe

**Apple juice or milk can be substituted for the bourbon or brandy, however the cookies won’t be nearly as tasty

 

Please let me know if you like this recipe. Thanks