‘Tis the season for baking holiday treats with family or friends, and rumor has it that jolly old Saint Nick is a big fan of cookies on Christmas Eve. This year, try something other than the traditional frosted sugar cookies or homemade chocolate chip cookies and treat Santa to biscochitos, a special New Mexican Christmas treat.
Biscochitos, or New Mexican shortbread cookies, are anise-flavored cookies rich in flavor, but still light. The cookie was brought to the Southwest by the Spanish in the early 1600s and have become so popular that New Mexico declared biscochitos its official state cookie.
What you’ll need:
- ½ cup lard or vegetable shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp. anise seeds
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- Rum or bourbon
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground New Mexican red chile (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
With an electric mixer, beat together the lard and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and anise seeds. Beat until well combined and pale yellow in color. Gradually mix in the flour until a stiff, smooth dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
Roll out the dough on a floured board until it is very thin – no thicker than ¼ inch. In the spirit of the holidays, cut dough into your favorite cookie shapes. Brush the tops of the cookies with rum or bourbon, and sprinkle the cinnamon. Add a pinch of chile, if desired.
Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until barely brown.
Pair with hot cider or a fresh cup of coffee, and enjoy!