Biscochitos: New Mexican Anise Shortbread Cookies

BiscochitosI am sure you guys are all familiar with one of my primary traveling goals: eat all the food! New Mexico is no exception, and I’m already missing that green chile. But I was also missing these, the official state cookie. I impulsively grabbed a bag of them at the airport, and they were the last little bit of Southwest flavor we brought home with us. Naturally, when we ran out, I had to bake some of my own. They’re buttery and rich, with a little dusting of sugar and cinnamon and a little bite of anise. Licorice lovers, these cookies are for you.

BiscochitosAnise is another name for fennel, which is where you’ll probably find these seeds in the spice aisle. For an extra bit of flavor, crush them a bit in a mortar and pestle or just with a wine bottle to release the oils.

BiscochitosYou can roll the dough out and use cookie cutters, or you can just shape simple rounds. I get an F in rolling pin class, so it was simple rounds for me.

BiscochitosI realize these look a lot like snickerdoodles, but they are a different animal entirely. They’re really more buttery and crunchy. Yum. Definitely adding these to the Christmas cookie (and year-round cookie) lineup.

Biscochitos
Adapted from Sugar Baking Blog

Makes about 2 dozen

Cookies:
1/2 cup butter = 1 stick butter at room temperature
1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons anise seed (fennel seed)
1 eggs, beaten
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brandy, red wine or milk (select one; I used milk)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

-Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
-Cream butter, sugar, and anise seed in a large mixing bowl. Add egg and beat well.
-Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Alternately add flour and milk or brandy to creamed mixture until stiff dough has been formed.
-Knead dough slightly and pat or roll into little balls or cut dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters.
-Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Dust the top of each cookie with a small amount of mixture.
-Bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned.

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