Wednesday, December 10, 2008


This year's first batch is done, and I thought about how I'd like to describe it to people who aren't from New Mexico. The word is pronounced beece-co-CHEE-toas(t) (I can't think how else to show "-tos" to have an s and not a z sound at the end, but the first syllable rhymes with "peace" and the last sounds like "toast" without the "t").

Yeah, that's all true, but here's something easier: Say BiscoCheetos but say it like the Frito Bandito.

There y'go.
Bizcochitos are the state cookie of New Mexico (since 1989).

I've had this recipe since the late 1970's, and I'm going to describe the way I've come to make them. There's a printable recipe with more details at
1½ cups sugar
1 pound (2 cups) lard
6 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise seed
2 eggs beaten
¼ cup brandy

Measure the brandy out into a small container and add the anise seeds. Cream together lard and sugar until smooth. Add beaten egg, brandy and anise seed.

In a separate large bowl, mix the baking powder and salt into the flour. Combine. If it's too stiff to hold together, add a little more brandy. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour.

Roll about ¼" thick and cut with cookie cutters. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 350° F for ten to fifteen minutes (until the bottom is slightly browned).


Annie said...

Yum! I grew up making these every year at Christmas (my mom is from the southwest). They are a longstanding family tradition and favorite. I was hoping to start that tradition with my toddler this year as well :)

Cap'n Franko said...

2 cups of lard. Well...

That recipe will never make it into a nouvelle cuisine, healthy living cookbook but it sounds good to me!

Anonymous said...

I bought Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook yesterday. As I was flipping through it last night, I saw a recipe for Bizcochitos and thought of you, having just seen this post about them on your blog.

(Lots of yummy-sounding and -looking cookies in that cookbook, if you like making cookies.)

I love that the NM state cookie contains brandy ;-)

Nancy said...

Whoo-hoo! Thanks -- I know what I'm doing next weekend...

Lisa M said...

I have not had these in years! My dad was born in Santa Fe, half the family still lives there. My grandma used to make these. I should try my hand at them. :)

Sylvia said...

I made these over the weekend, Sandra, and they are delicious! I've already shared the link to your bizcochitos page with several people who enjoyed the cookies.

Katy said...

I had the worst bizcochitos today! I feel bad, because someone made them and freely shared them, but they were not good. Hard and dry.

I really want some good ones now, so I think I will try your recipe AND visit the panaderia!

Thanks for sharing.

Sandra Dodd said...

Glenda, some recipes say red wine. The state legislature apparently specified that they would be the state cookie but there wouldn't be a single definitive recipe.

Katy, I've had some that were hard and dry too. Rolling them too thin is a problem, and they probably didn't use any alcohol and maybe not enough LARD. :-)

Katy said...

Yeah, I know about the lard, but at Christmastime I try to pretend that I don't know what lard is! :-)

I have had bizcochitos made with butter that were good, but only once! Usually they just are not the same.

When I first stopped eating meat, I tried avoiding all meat products. That was, for me, so not worth the effort and stress that it caused. I would much rather just enjoy one of my favorite cookies, lard and all. When my 90 year old grandmother made a chicken casserole, I ate that happily too!

Lisa said...

This is almost the same recipe that I got from my grandma. I make them every year. But oh, those cookie shapes bring back memories, because they must be the same cutters that we used every year when I was growing up!!

Sandra Dodd said...

I'm guessing those card-spot cookie cutters were for sale in grocery stores in Northern New Mexico before my time, because grandmas had them, and that's what Christmas cookies looked like in my neighborhood, so when I found some of the cutters, as an adult (in a thrift store) I was very happy. :-)

Sandra Dodd said...

I noticed in 2021 (coming back to use my own recipe) that I put "1 teaspoon anise seed" but it should be two, and I've repaired that. :-) I still think it's a good idea to put the anise seeds in the brandy while you're working a while.