Many years ago when our boys were quite young, we went to visit Grandma and Grandpa in New Mexico for Christmas. Didn't miss the Chicago weather one bit that year. It was a wonderful holiday filled with tumbleweed snowmen, luminarias and snow on the mountains. Lots of parties, presents, and good food.
My mother simply did not bake - not when I was a kid and not for her grandchildren either. She did give the gift of love and laughter, though. There were plenty of sweets thanks to me and so many visitors. One friend of my parents walked in with a huge tray of a cookie named "Biscochitos." He was a lovely man and a veteran, too! I discovered that Jimmy was of Hispanic heritage and quite the baker. With coffee I just couldn't stop eating those cookies. The flavor was so unique and positively melted in your mouth. The kids had hot chocolate with theirs.
While I was indulging, Jimmy told me about these traditional New Mexican cookies. They are quite famous and were made by the early Spanish colonists who came to explore and settle. They are a delicious crispy butter cookie flavored with anise seed and cinnamon. The texture is similar to shortbread.
Since we took that trip long ago, I have been told that biscochitos were made the first ever official "State Cookie." In New Mexico it is a traditional Christmas treat. We have enjoyed them every Christmas since then and hope you will, too. Below is Jimmy's recipe, although he spells the name of the cookie with a "z." I have copied it here in exactly his words. You will giggle when you get to the part of what to use as a cookie cutter.
1 cup sugar
2 cups lard
6 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
Anise seed to taste (start with 1 tablespoon & add to taste)
Sugar & Cinnamon mixture ( 1 t cinnamon & 1/2 cup sugar)
Cream lard with a mixer thoroughly. Add sugar and anise seed. Beat eggs and add to lard mixture. Add water and knead. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick and cut cookies using a shot glass. Place cut
|This is the brand Jimmy uses.|
I did a little research for this post and found that they have other names or spellings. They are also called bizcochos, polvorones, and mantecados. They can be cut in diamonds or crescent moons and covered with powdered sugar as well. This cookie can be served at baptisms, religious holidays, weddings, and quincenieras, too. I found a quote from an elderly Hispanic lady who said,
"You must have the hands (manos) to make a delicious biscocho that will melt in your mouth. It's working the dough just right and making sure that love is added to each one. You have to love making them because anyone who has made them will tell you that it is hard work. That is the secret to making a good biscocho."
Also, if you open the tin and find one that is broken,
it is good luck to eat that one first.
Bogey and Bacall
Ms Dixie Wrecked
selkie (recipe here)