Bob’s Red Mill’s United States of Cookies: Biscochitos (NM)

New Mexico’s official state cookie is a crispy, sweet shortbread with strong vanilla and subtle anise and cinnamon flavors.

Recipe source

Biscochitos are not only Bob’s Red Mill’s New Mexico cookie but the official cookie of New Mexico, and date back to when they were a Spanish colony. This site says that they are usually made with lard and brandy, which aren’t in this recipe (kind of a shame since I have both in my possession).

Here’s the thing, guys: I don’t like anise. No one in my family does, though my Nana does like black licorice so she may enjoy anise. I have gotten over it some, like how I acclimated to cilantro, just through repeat exposure. I even tried absinthe in Montreal last year and wasn’t too grossed out.

I couldn’t very well leave it out, so I bought the bullet, and bought some anise seed.

I was hoping to get a small container, and should have gone to my usual organic market where I get bulk spices so I could get exactly what I needed and no more. Instead I spent $5 on all this that I’ll probably never use again.

I’m trying to include my son in the baking more, since he’s interested and I definitely don’t want to discourage him. He’s been pretty good about stirring for me.

Instead of lard there’s shortening. When I was shopping for it recently, my only choices were a huge container or this:.

It’s actually pretty good for me, since I only really use it for baking and I won’t have to scoop it into a measuring cup that way.

I like the resealable container also.

Strangely, the recipe wanted me to blend the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs all at once instead of creaming the butter and sugar first. It seemed to turn out all right.

With the dry added.

Biscochitos are traditionally cutout cookies, or put through a cookie press, but in this recipe they’re a roll and slice.

I was supposed to slice the cookies and roll the rim of each in cinnamon sugar, but why do that when I can coat the whole roll ahead of time?

This is some pricey Emile Henry baking dish I bought as a kitchen store. The saleslady was raving about the brand and its quality; I swear I broke her heart when I told her I meant to use it as a drip tray for a bonsai in a rectangular pot that I couldn’t find any other tray for.
Finally using my Pioneer Woman knife my Oma got me for Christmas one year. The cuts in the side help keep things from sticking to the side of the blade.

Giving the roll a quarter turn every cut keeps it from flattening too much.

Overall impressions

I was pleasantly surprised to find the anise flavor is so subtle that I could barely detect it. Possible reasons:

  • Grocery store spices are often older/less potent than other sources
  • This recipe called for 1 teaspoon, others have called for 2 teaspoons.
  • Another recipe called for toasting the seeds beforehand

The recipe calls for a tablespoon of vanilla (most call for one teaspoon) so the cookies mostly taste sweet and like vanilla. I think the sugar coating could have used more cinnamon. But yes, the lack of anise doesn’t bother me. My husband said it’s the maximum amount of anise flavor he would want.

Still, it’s mostly just a nicely crispy, fairly sweet shortbread cookie. Nothing I’m incredibly thrilled by.

All photos by Amber Sutton

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