Are you a true New Mexican? Put yourself to the test by making the New Mexico state cookie, the bizcochito.
Bizcochitos are cookies with origins in the Spanish colony of Santa Fe de Nuevo México flavored with anise and cinnamon. Traditionally, the cookies are cut into the shape of crescent moons and stars. They can be seen made for holidays and events such as weddings, and it is often served alongside a cup of hot chocolate.
Developed centuries ago, the bizcochito was brought to New Mexico by Spanish colonists and by immigrants from other Hispanic countries. It was also greatly influenced by local and Indigenous customs.
To start on your New Mexican baking adventure, set your oven to 350 degrees.
Using a Kitchen Aid mixer, begin by putting 1.5 pounds of lard, 2 eggs, 3 teaspoons of liquid anise and 2 cups of sugar into the bowl and mixing it until it becomes a grainy liquid.
Next, mix the seasonings into the dough mixture: 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 3 teaspoons of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. After these ingredients are mixed together, add 6 cups of flour half a cup at a time.
While the dough is still mixing, stir together a dry mixture of 2 cups of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of cinnamon in a separate bowl. You will use this cinnamon-sugar mixture later.
After the dough mixture is finished, make sure the dough is not too sticky.
When making the cookies myself, I found the most difficult part was making sure the dough stuck together and didn’t become too grainy. If this happens for you, don’t add more flour, as that will only worsen the dough's crumbliness. Instead, add water or oil a little at a time, while also rolling it out on flour, to create a not-too-sticky mixture that will stick together.
Then use a rolling pin and flour – or your hands – to roll it into flat pieces of dough that will cut easily with cookie cutters. You want thin half-inch slices.
I personally used a star-shaped cookie cutter and heart-shaped cookie cutter, both bought at Walmart for less than five dollars. In doing this, it ensures that the cookies will be properly cooked, and it also creates fun shapes for the cookies.
Once the cookies are cut, coat them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Finally, put the cookies in the oven for 20 minutes. This delicacy will be ready to eat after the cookies have cooled.
Other than the dough issue, these cookies were very simple to make. I suggest investing in making a batch from scratch for any event or even just to snack on while you are at home.
Ellie Aikman is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted a firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @eaikman1230