- Yield: 24-36
When Eloisa Martinez Rivera, chef John Sedlar’s grandmother, first baked these traditional crisp anise-scented Christmas cookies, she used a wood-fired stove. Sedlar fondly remembers time spent with her in her kitchen, the beginning of his desire to become a chef. Look to his Neon Tumbleweeds dessert to see how he begins with her biscochitos and ends with an elegant upscale dessert. These cookies will keep up to a week in an airtight container, and they freeze very well.
- Sugar - 1 1/2 cup
- Lard - 1 cup (alt. vegetable shortening), at room temperature
- Eggs - 2
- Anise Seed - 1-1/2 teaspoons
- Vanilla Extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- All Purpose Flour - 2-1/2 cups unbleached
- Baking Powder - 1 teaspoon
- Water or milk - As needed
- Granulated sugar - For sprinkling
- Cinnamon - For sprinkling
In the bowl of an electric mixer or a food processor, cream the sugar and lard together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the anise seed and vanilla.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and add to the mixture, mixing with your hands until the dough is smooth. If it too thick, add a few teaspoons of water or milk, a little at a time, until the dough is pliable; if too thin, add a little flour until stiff enough to form. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for several hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 parts and roll out each to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into decorative shapes with cookie cutters and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and back 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.