Merry Christmas to all….

As I wish you all holiday greetings, I am remembering Christmases past….

I know you get tired of hearing this, but we love New Mexico.    We try to make it every other year at least.   Our last real trip was during Christmas 2011 and it was the best vacation and holiday ever.   A box of biscochitos was left in our hotel room by the staff on Christmas Eve.   We fell in love with this traditional New Mexico cookie with all its crisp and spicy flavors.     Rhonda (who rocks btw) at The Kitchen Witch suggested I try out her recipe.    I believe her recipe is a bit more authentic because it calls for 1 cup of bacon fat or lard.   I just couldn’t bring myself to render that much bacon fat and I could not find lard so I had to make my batch with shortening.

If you’re adventurous and try the bacon fat, please let me know.  I am sure they are delicious.

Biscochitos (Bizcochito )
from Rhonda at The Kitchen Witch

1 c. shortening
1 c. white sugar
1 farm fresh egg
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. spiced rum (I used Captain Morgan’s.)
1 t. anise seeds
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. fine sea salt
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. sugar

In stand mixer, cream together lard and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. With mixer running on low, add egg, vanilla extract, rum, and anise seeds and mix until will blended and fluffy.  (I did this step with the whisk attachment in my stand mixer.)

Add flour, salt, and baking powder and mix just until dough forms into cohesive ball.  (I swapped out and added the paddle attachment for this step.)

Form dough into two cylinders about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Chill for 2 hours or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze logs tightly wrapped for several months. Defrost in refrigerator for 1 day before using.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl and set aside. Cut cylinders into 1/4 inch disks and on ungreased cookie sheets leaving 1/2-inch gap between cookies. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Dip rim of each cookie into cinnamon sugar mixture. Let cool on racks and store at room temperature in air-tight container for up to 5 days.

Rhonda recipe calls for brandy or rum.   I thought I was out of rum when I started mixing these up and I almost substituted ginger liqueur.    I might just do that next time.

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Biscochitos served with Dulce de Leche as a dip.  (This is another tip from Rhonda.)

I think these would be perfect on a  Christmas Eve buffet with Dulce de Leche on the side for dipping.  (For a tremendously easy and delicious way to make your own Dulce de Leche, click here.)

A bit of history of this cookie.

  • Over the centuries, New Mexicans developed this cookie influenced by Spanish and indigenous ingredients and culture.
  • Biscochitos are reserved for special occasions and are especially associated with the holiday season.
  • This treat is the official cookie of New Mexico (signed into law in 1989).
  • Some recipes say to roll out the dough and cut into different shapes.   Fleur-de-lis, simple scalloped-edge circles or flowers seem to be most traditional.   I have even seen some cut out in milagro shapes.
  • It is traditional to use lard.

(This information was gleaned from Wikipedia, Albuquerque’s Visitors and Convention site,  and What’s Cooking America.)

For my last post, I presented directions for making your own farolitos, the quintessential Santa Fe Christmas light.

I hope you like these past two forays into New Mexico with me.  All I can say is…”Stay tuned.”

7 comments to Biscochitos

  • Merry Christmas Debra!!! Oh how I adore Biscochitos! My daughter lived in New mexico for a few years and while I was visiting one time her neighbor made them just for me. When I found out how much bacon fat was in them I could have fallen off of the chair. Oh my but oh my are they delicious!!! Thank you so much for sharing, Debra. I may be wishing Santa brings me some of these tonight. Yes, they are that good!!!

    • Very Merry Christmas back to you, Louise. We just had some authentic ones yesterday. We’re calling them New Mexican snickerdoodles (which I am sure is a sacrilege). Hope Santa was good to you.

  • And a very Merry Christmas to you Debra! Hope it was a wonderful day and that the rest of your holiday season is joyous and exciting!

  • Deb, your biscochitos look ahh-mazing! I’m totally digging your idea for using ginger liquer…I have a freakish love for ginger. I probably use way too much bacon, it doesn’t seem to take me too long to collect enough bacon fat! I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

    • We were able to enjoy some authentic ones in NM recently. I am really sure they were made with lard. Hope you had a very happy holiday, Rhonda!