BizcochitosBizcochitos (Anise sugar cookies)
These spicy, anise-flavored cookies from New Mexico are rich, crisp, and very easy to make. They are wonderful in ice cream sandwiches – a chocolate-glazed cookie on the bottom, vanilla ice cream in the middle, and another cookie on top – and they are also my holiday favorite. Stored in a tightly sealed container, they can be frozen up to six months.
Oven Temperature: 350F
Baking Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yield: 4 dozen cookies
1 ½ cups lard, chilled
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons anise seeds
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
About 3 tablespoons brandy, apple juice, or milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Beat fat and 1 cup sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and anise seeds, and beat until very light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture along with the brandy. Mix thoroughly to make a stiff dough. (If dough is soft, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.)
2. Roll out dough on a floured board to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with cutters into cookie designs or into 3-inch rounds. Combine the 3 remaining tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle over tops of unbaked cookies. Place cookies on baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are barely browned.
3. Cool cookies on wire racks.
Notes: Butter or margarine can be substituted for the lard, however the cookies will not be as crisp and moist. Apple juice or milk can be substituted for the brandy, however they are not quite as good.
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