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The 12 Days of Christmas Day 4: Biscochitos

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As a young girl, growing up in Corrales, New Mexico, I thrived off of tasty Mexican food and treats.  To this day, the biscochito is my favorite Mexican treat to bake.  I bake this light fluffy melt in your mouth cookie every year.  In the past, I have only used butter and shortening, even though traditionally you use lard no questions asked.  This year I decided to use lard.  I was a little hesitant at first because lard has a specific smell to it that I don’t think goes with a cookie.  However, after baking the cookies I found that the lard smell goes away.  The bischochitos turned out excellent this year and they are just how I remembered them to be!

A little Biscochito History:

  • Biscochitos were originally brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the 16th Century.
  • The Spanish name for biscochitos is Mantecados.
  • It is an anise and cinnamon shortbread cookie and is similar to a Snickerdoodle.
  • Biscochitos are tradionally enjoyed at celebrations such as, weddings and holiday parties.
  • The original shape of the biscochito cookie was a diamond shape because the diamond signified purity.
  • In New Mexico the biscochito is enjoyed during Christmas time, as well as many other celebrations.
  • The biscochito is New Mexico’s Official State cookie.

Biscochitos from The Food Network:

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound lard (no substitutes, found at your local grocery store)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sweet table wine (I use a cheap Riesling and it works perfectly)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions:

Keep in mind that these cookies need to sit in the refrigerator for at least three to four hours prior to rolling out.

Mix lard with sugar until thoroughly mixed.  Add anise seeds (I find that if you crush them up they release more flavor to the cookie).  In a small bowl whisk eggs until light and fluffy.  Add whisked eggs into lard and sugar mixture until combined.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in stages.  Last, add the wine to form a stiff-like dough.  You can add more wine if necessary, but I find that 1/2 cup will do it.

Refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove dough from refrigerator and let stand for just a couple of minutes.  Mix cinnamon and extra 1/4 cup sugar in small bowl and set aside.  Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Pick your favorite cookie cutters and cut out into the shapes of your preference.  Place cookies on cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is lightly browned.

 

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