chef cristina’s biscochitos

Still looking for the perfect holiday gift? Well, we’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find a printable recipe card for biscochitos from Chef Cristina, the head chef at El Monte Sagrado. What’s more thoughtful than fresh-baked cookies made with love? 

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without our beloved New Mexico state cookie. This biscochitos recipe is brought to you from the loving kitchen of Chef Cristina’s maternal grandmother. A native New Mexican, Chef Cristina recently celebrated her four-year anniversary at El Monte Sagrado. Chef Cristina has been crafting locally-sourced dishes for over a decade as she’s brought her talents to several fine establishments throughout the state, including the Artichoke Café, Hotel Albuquerque, The Lodge at Santa Fe, and Pueblo Harvest Café. 

Chef Cristina learned to make biscochitos by watching her grandmother make them each holiday season growing up, “Since sweets take more time and patience, biscochitos were a rare treat to be had around special times. I remember as a child the tree-shaped ones were my favorite. We would fight with our cousins over who got what shapes, as if they tasted any different. I have loving memories of my grandmother’s food – the smell of beans and chile, fresh tortillas, biscochitos dunked in Folgers coffee. The use of manteca (lard) in most of her cooking, and how soft butter was always out on the table to spread over her fresh, hot tortillas. Towards the end of my grandmother’s beautiful life, I asked her to share her recipe with me. She looked at me and said, “You’ll have to just watch then, I don’t write things down.”

My maternal grandmother, Lela Chavez always made biscochitos for her grandchildren around the holidays. As we watched her, she’d always share her secret with us. “It’s all about the lard and brandy,” she’d say. That is the secret to making melt-in-your-mouth, flaky, biscochitos. My grandmother would make them in the shape of a star, a bell, and a tree. The more edges, the more crispy-cinnamon, and sugar yumminess!


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons anise seeds (I like to slightly crush them with a small pan, so the oils come out a bit.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound of lard, softened (You could use shortening but it’s not the same.)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy or sweet wine, whiskey works as well!


For the cinnamon sugar topping:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Chef Cristina’s Biscochitos Recipe:

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  2. Beat the lard in an electric mixer, while gradually adding the sugar. Cream the lard until extremely fluffy and light, for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the anise and the egg, followed by the booze, and continue beating. Scrape down the sides of the mixer with your spatula.
  4. Mix in the dry ingredients, gradually adding about one-third of the mixture, at a time. Stop the mixer as you make each addition. Incorporate dry ingredients but do not over mix. The dough should be like a stiffish pie-crust.
  5. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  6. Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out with desired cookie cutters. 
  7. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheets, about 2.5 inches apart.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until just set and cookies are a pale golden color.


For the cinnamon sugar topping:

  1. While the cookies bake, stir together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. 
  2. Allow cookies to cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets, then gently dunk the tops of each cookie into the cinnamon-sugar topping. Sprinkle more with your fingers to coat generously.
Credit – @nphuskerfl via Instagram

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