Biscochitos are more than just sweet little Spanish cookies. They are like crunchy shortbread cookies that have been dredged in cinnamon and sugar. As if that weren’t awesome enough, this beautiful biscochitos recipe contains aromatic anise for that subtle flavor with a special quality.
Adapted over the years from the earliest Spanish settlers to New Mexico, this bisochitos recipe produces the most amazingly delicious little cookies! These cookies are so good that New Mexico adopted them as their state cookie in 1989 and I can’t blame them one little bit.
C’mon, let me show you why!
I absolutely love the subtly sweet unique flavor of the cookies produced by this biscochitos recipe! They are light and crunchy and altogether something very special.
I also love that this is a simple straightforward cookie recipe. It makes the most amazing little cookies and you don’t have to put the dough in the fridge and wait for hours!
Here are even more reasons to love this biscochitos recipe…
- Easy to make
- Light crunchy texture
- Sweet cookie flavor with hints of anise
- No refrigerator wait time
- Dredged in cinnamon sugar
Using room temperature lard is essential to this biscochitos recipe. The temperature of your ingredients has a profound effect on how your cookies spread and bake. Cold ingredients (including fats) produce fluffier cookies while room temp ingredients produce flatter cookies.
It is also important to mix the dry ingredients separately. This allows the leavening agents to be dispersed evenly throughout the mixture and helps combat toughness. When the wet ingredients are added, less mixing is required to incorporate the ingredients which prevent gluten development, so you get a perfectly crunchy cookie instead of a tough chewy one.
Also – dredging warm cookies helps the cinnamon sugar stick to them. Don’t burn your fingers but don’t let them cool too much before dredging.
Leaf lard is the best type of lard to use for this recipe, but any lard will work. Leaf lard comes from pig fat near the kidney of the animal. It is snow white and doesn’t taste like pork, so it gives your baked goods a nice savory flavor without the hint of bacon.
Use the largest eggs you can find. The biscochitos recipe is based on large eggs so smaller ones won’t produce the same quality cookies.
You’ll also notice this biscochitos recipe calls for anise. Try not to be heavy-handed with the anise. It has a unique licorice-like flavor that can be very satisfying or off-putting.
These crunchy little biscochitos can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days on the counter and they will keep just fine but storing in a tin is suggested. You can also put them in the fridge to be on the safe side since there’s egg in the recipe.
Here’s a little trick to keep them crispy. Make sure they cool completely before storing. Then put about a third of a cup of fresh baking soda in a coffee filter and staple it shut. Drop your homemade ‘fresh pack’ into the container with your cookies and it will absorb excess moisture to keep your biscochitos fresh and crunchy.
Can You Freeze This?
Yep, you sure can freeze this biscochitos recipe!! You can either freeze the raw cookie dough or the baked cooled cookies. When freezing the raw dough, people often roll it into a log wrapped in wax paper. When you’re ready to bake, slow thaw the long in the fridge and then cut into thin cookies.
You can also cut the cookies before you freeze them, but they sometimes break since they’re thinner cookies. Freezing the cookie dough in a log preserves the integrity of the cookies. It can last up to 2 months in the freezer.
Make Ahead Tips
I love making up a big batch of these biscochitos and keeping them in a display-worthy tin for people to snack on. This biscochitos recipe makes fantastic slightly sweet cookies that are the perfect complement to a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. They are also ideal for serving at holiday get-togethers in the fall season because they taste as great as they look!
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Keeping these biscochitos fresh is easy if you can keep them around long enough! Toss them in an airtight container with a secure lid and put them in the fridge. Just be sure to let them cool completely first. This biscochitos recipe keeps better if you don’t use a Ziploc bag.
Tweaking this biscochitos recipe to suit your personal preference is simple. If you’re really into the licorice-like anise flavor, you can trade the anise extract for anise seed. Just be sure to crush them gently first.
You can also choose to use any other type of fat for the base as long as it is solid at room temperature. This biscochitos recipe will work with butter or vegetable shortening but I find the savory flavor is best with leaf lard.
Lastly, you can choose to dredge your cookies heavily or lightly in the cinnamon sugar. Some people leave out the sugar and just give their cookies a light cinnamon dusting instead. It’s all up to you.
Can These Cookies Be Turned Into Polvorones?
Polvoron is Spanish for powder or dust. These Spanish wedding cookies are a popular delight that is mass-produced in Andalusia known as polvorones, but the recipe is quite different from the biscochitos recipe. You can try these tasty little gems when you’re in the mood for a thicker cookie, but you’ll have to use a dedicated recipe.
Can I Add Chocolate?
Biscochitos are often served with hot chocolate to complement their slightly sweet flavor. Chocolate buffs may enjoy chocolate chip shortbread cookies or even just chocolate shortbread cookies, but it isn’t customary to add chocolate to a biscochitos recipe.
Can I Add Nuts?
This biscochitos recipe doesn’t call for nuts but if nuts excite you then try making almond shortbread cookies or pecan shortbread cookies. These sweet little confections are full of that nutty flavor and extra texture people crave.
What Other Ingredients I Can Add To This Recipe?
The biscochitos recipe that became the New Mexico state cookie in 1989 is best just like it is. There is something savory, slightly sweet and totally pleasing about these little cookies dredged in cinnamon sugar.
If you’re in the mood for something totally different, you can try some lemon shortbread cookies or caramel shortbread cookies. They are sweet little concoctions with a crumbly texture that is oh so satisfying.
What Other Shortbread Cookies Can I Try?
I absolutely love these biscochitos but whipped shortbread cookies are pretty darn good too. If you love the subtly sweet licorice-like flavor of these little biscochitos but you want to dress them up a little or try something a little different, try these German springerle cookies instead. You still get those anise undertones in a fancy looking cookie.
- 1 pound lard at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 teaspoon anise extract
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add the lard and 1 1/2 cups of sugar to a mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer set on medium speed, cream together for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and anise.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until evenly combined. Add the lard mixture to flour mixture and gently knead to combine into a dough.
- Use a floured rolling pin, on a lightly floured surface, to roll cookie dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies using a 2-inch diameter cookie cutter. Transfer cookies to an ungreased baking sheet 1/2 apart.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until golden.
- While cookies are in the oven, mix together the remaining 1 cup of sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg in a shallow bowl. Dredge warm cookies in sugar mixture and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
Biscochitos are thin crunchy little Spanish desserts with a unique flavor that isn’t overpowering. Of course, the warm dredge in cinnamon sugar doesn’t hurt either. A subtle sweetness and crispy crunch make these little biscochitos great for special occasions.
I love to make a big batch during the holiday season or as a special treat for the fam! These little gems are a staple in my ‘something special’ box and they are so easy to make I just know you’re going to love them too!