Bizcochitos are delicate anise-flavored sugar cookies dipped in cinnamon sugar. The sweet anise-cinnamon combination is unusual, haunting, and makes me grab for another bizcochito the minute I've swallowed the one before it. These unique cookies are made and served throughout New Mexico. Like so many traditional dishes, there are countless versions of bizcochitos—some claim lard is essential, others turn to butter to make these cookies crisp and flavorful. See options in the recipe below and make bizcochitos of your own.
I found one old recipe that mentioned home-ground flour as a key ingredient, so I use whole wheat pastry flour to give my bizcochitos a deeper flavor while keeping the texture nice and light. Don't worry about it too much, though, using all-purpose flour works just fine, too.
- Cream the butter or lard and 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy looking. Meanwhile, crush the anise seeds in a mortar and pestle or use the back of a small but heavy frying pan.
- Add the crushed anise seed, egg, and brandy to the dough and mix to combine thoroughly. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir just to combine—avoid overworking the dough once you've added the to keep the cookies nice and tender.
- Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap the two disks of dough in plastic and chill them for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
- In a medium bowl, combine the remaining cup of sugar with the cinnamon. Set this mixture near a clean work surface where you will roll out the cookie dough.
- Preheat an oven to 300F. Generously grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Working with one disk of dough at a time, use plenty of flour to roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch-thick. Use cookie cutters or a sharp paring knife to cut the rolled out dough into shapes. Dip each resulting cookie in the cinnamon sugar mixture and put the cookies on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer them to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough. Store the bizcochitos in tins for up to a week.