Friday, December 14, 2007

A nice, multicultural cookie. Or something.

Sorry I've been so lax about updating lately... we are in full swing of Holiday Hell here in retail-land, and by the time I get home from a grueling day of customers and cookware, it's all I can manage to put something together for dinner... let alone photograph or write about it. But I had a day off yesterday, and so I offer these, the most Christmas spirit I've exhibited so far this season:

Biscochitos are high up on my list of favourite holiday foods, and are nigh impossible to find outside of New Mexico. I'd been planning on making a batch for weeks, and finally buckled down and did it, even using my new snowflake cookie cutter that I picked up at work. They turned out looking more like Stars of David, but I guess that makes for a nice, multicultural cookie. Or something.

I was actually reduced to googling "biscochitos" to find a decent recipe for these little cookies, with mixed results. I almost used this one, but it didn't call for alcohol, and I don't believe in virgin  biscochitos. I finally settled on this recipe, with a little tweaking. I feel like they could stand further tweaking, so I'll let you know once I have an updated version. The current recipe is highly edible, though, so don't feel like you need to wait.

Take One

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks - and I know that I am way out of line using butter; a proper biscochito must be made with lard. I'm a recovering vegetarian - I don't know what to do with hunks of animal fat).
3/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. anise seed
1 large egg
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. red wine

1/4 c. sugar
1 T. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter (or lard, you brave souls), sugar and anise seed. Add the egg, and mix until combined.

In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Alternating with with the red wine, add the flour to the butter mixture.

Roll out to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick, depending on how you like your biscochitos, and cut into suitable shapes. Snowflakes are great, especially if they melt into not-snowflakes.

Combine the remaining 1/4 c. sugar and tablespoon of cinnamon in a wide bowl, and press the face of each cookie into the mixture before putting it on the baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden.

Cool on a rack, and start eating as soon as they are cool enough to not burn your mouth.

In retrospect, here are a few ideas for tweaks: try brandy, which is what the original recipe called for, rather than red wine. While initially a lovely purplish colour, it faded to an odd grey, which is really not what you're going for with cookie dough. I could have sworn my grandmother makes them with red wine.... Also, out here in the humid northwest, err on the side off a little too much flour. I added probably a quarter cup during the rolling process, just to get the proper consistency for a rolled cookie, rather than a drop cookie.

Oh, and a word to the unenlightened - never ever ever call a biscochito a snickerdoodle, or at least not if you value your life.


Thora said...

Shannon, you sound like you're having fun while you cook. I never liked it too much and was delighted when your granddad took over. About the red wine, nope, not in the cookies, although there was always plenty around the house. I used brandy which smells wonderful! And another thing if you care to: make a roll of cookie dough and freeze it. It can come out when you have company. be sliced and baked so you have fresh cookies and a wonderful cinnamon smell in the house.

Shannon said...

I stand corrected - you'll have to show me your methods while we're back in Albuquerque over the holidays. I'm glad you're reading! See you soon!

Local Color said...

I'm looking forward to eating the results.

Matt Dark said...

I like cookies