Miss A Columnist

Susan and her husband split their time between a small town just north of San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. She has a struggling vegetable garden, shelves bulging with cookbooks, and thousands of clippings of food ideas and recipes torn from magazines and newspapers over the years. Armed with all this, and her culinary school education from Tante Marie in San Francisco, she has been moving her diet to one that is semi-vegetarian, while her husband remains a determined carnivore. One thing both Susan and her husband agree on, however, is dessert.
Susan has taught cooking in kitchens of local farmhouses to support the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, and has served on the Board for the San Francisco Professional Food Society. She has also won a number of national recipe development contests.

Bizcochitos Recipe For Mother’s Day

Does your state have an official state cookie? As someone whose first word was cookie, according to my mom, I think my state should have one.

The bizcochito, also spelled biscochito, is New Mexico’s official state cookie and is a traditional favorite there for celebrations. This cookie isn’t well-known outside of New Mexico, it’s true, but the recipe has been around for a few hundred years! Its tangled roots can be traced all the way back to the early Spanish colonists, and was strongly influenced by Hispanics from Central America who later settled there. Although variations proliferate, these cookies are essentially an anise-flavored shortbread cookie, and are served by themselves or as an ice cream sandwich cookie (my personal favorite).

Bizconchitos cookies, Cinco de Mayo

(Photo Credit: Susan Pridmore)

New Mexico was actually the first state to have an official state cookie, with a goal of supporting traditional home-baked cooking. Traditions are wonderful to honor through foods, I’m all for that. So now I’m doing some serious thinking about what traditions the California state cookie should preserve.

Meanwhile, I’ll make another batch of these bizcochitos for Mother’s Day.

 

Bizcochitos (adapted from Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen cookbook)
Makes 1 dozen cookies

Ingredients
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons date sugar (regular cane sugar can be substituted)
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon anise seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brandy (Apple brandy is wonderful here)
Cinnamon Dust
1 tablespoon date sugar (or regular cane sugar)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I recommend Mexican cinnamon if you have it)
Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the butter, coconut oil, and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment. A hand mixer works fine too. Beat on high, until fluffy. The color will become noticeably lighter from the air being beat into the butter mixture, and may take up to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the egg, and continue to whip until completely absorbed and the batter is fluffy again, about 3 minutes.
  4. Mix together the flour, baking powder, anise seed, and salt in a bowl. Add all at once to the butter mix. On a low speed, mix until a crumbly mixture develops.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the two Cinnamon Dust ingredients in a small bowl.
  6. Add the brandy and continue mixing until it comes together into a ball of dough. Remove the dough and place on a workspace.
  7. Divide the ball into 12 equal pieces. If using scales, each piece weighs approximately one ounce. Roll each piece into a ball. Dip each into the bowl with the Cinnamon Dust and coat just one side of the ball of dough. Place on the cookie sheet and slightly flatten. I flatten them using the bottom of a glass. If the glass has a pattern, like mine, that pattern will be imprinted on the cookies.
  8. Bake on the middle rack for 10 – 12 minutes. The edges of the cookies should look a little dry. If you’re using cane sugar instead of date sugar, you will see the cookies slightly darken around their edges.

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