Biscochitos are a New Mexican staple. Photograph by Douglas Merriam. 

Classic Biscochitos

The New Mexico state cookie, an anise- and cinnamon-scented delight, is served at every December gathering short of a fast-food breakfast. Lori Delgado shares this scrumptious recipe, which began with Agnes Trujillo, a friend of her mother-in-law, Angie’s. Whether you spell it biscochito or bizcochito, you’ll call these cookies wonderful.

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound lard, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tablespoons ground anise seeds
  • ½ cup orange juice, fresh or from concentrate
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) whiskey
  • Topping
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Makes about 6 dozen medium-size cookies

Instructions


Preheat oven to 425° F.

Sift together 5 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat lard in electric mixer, gradually adding sugar until extremely light
and fluffy; about 8 minutes. Stop mixer every couple minutes to scrape down
sides of mixing bowl. Add eggs singly, beating in each one before adding
the next. Mix in dry ingredients, beating only until incorporated. Add
anise seeds, whiskey, and orange juice. A stiff, pie-crust–like dough is
what you’re after. Add some or all of remaining flour, as needed, to get
proper consistency.

Spoon dough into cookie press, if you wish. Push out dough into shaped
cookies on ungreased cookie sheets. If you don’t have a cookie press or
prefer to make them with cookie cutters, the dough can be rolled out ¼
inch thick on floured work surface and cut into favorite shapes, then
arranged on cookie sheets. In either case, avoid handling the dough more
than necessary.

Bake cookies 12 to 15 minutes.

For the topping

While cookies bake, stir together topping ingredients.

Assembly

Transfer cookies to baking racks to cool.

Gently roll cookies in topping mixture. If not eaten sooner, cookies will
keep a week.