“This is a just one of several variations that I have. My grandmother and mother used the traditional lard to make these biscochitos. In those days, there was no oil or any other type of fat.”

-Helen Mariscal 

Helen Mariscal is locally known for her mouthwatering recipes, which she has regularly shared with readers in her food column published in the newspaper. This recipe is a traditional staple in many Hispanic families. A biscochito is a crisp lard- or butter-based cookie, flavored with cinnamon and anise. They are typically served during special celebrations, such as wedding receptions, baptisms, and holidays, especially the Christmas season.

Makes: 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground anise
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups butter flavored shortening
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice, thawed or brandy
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Cinnamon-sugar or powdered sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, anise, baking powder and 1/2 salt in a bowl, set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, sugar, orange juice or brandy. Mix well and add vanilla until mixture is light & fluffy.
  4. Beat in flour mixture (dough will be stiff). Divide dough into 2 portions. On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness.
  5. Using a cookie cutter, cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds. Arrange on a parchment lined cookie sheet, bake for 9-10 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom.
  6. Remove from cookie sheet. If using sugar mixture to coat biscochitos, coat while still warm.