These biscochitos, or cinnamon anise shortbread cookies, are absolutely delicious and they’re really easy to make. They’re a wonderful addition to holiday cookie trays!
Reason number 5,021 I could never be a professional cookie decorator: for the life of me, I can’t make cut-out cookies come out all the same, even when I use the same cookie cutter for every.single.one.
Evidence? See above! But really who cares what the cookies look like when they taste as good as these biscochitos?
Nobody. That’s who. Flavored with anise, cinnamon, and a hefty dose of brandy, these crunchy and crumbly shortbread-like cookies are delicious and they totally deserve a place on your holiday baking list.
Why you’ll love this recipe for biscochitos:
- They’re easy to make
- The cookies and the cookie dough both freeze beautifully
- No stand mixer required!
How to make biscochitos
- Sift together your dry ingredients
- Cream butter and shortening together until smooth
- Add sugar, an egg, and anise seed
- Beat to combine
- Beat in the dry ingredients (the mixture will be crumbly)
- Beat in brandy to form a firm, cohesive dough
Then you’ll chill the dough in the fridge for about half an hour before rolling it out.
After your dough has chilled:
- Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes
- Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake
- When the cookies finish baking, sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar while they’re still hot
And voila! Biscochitos are finished!
They’re a delicious addition to your cookie trays this holiday season and they go very well with a cup of coffee or tea. (Meaning they’re breakfast-appropriate if you ask me!)
Baker’s tip: Sprinkling your cookies with cinnamon sugar while they’re still hot is crucial. The heat allows the sugar to melt into the cookies a little, meaning the topping stays in place.
If the cookies are cool the cinnamon sugar will just come right off when you pick the cookies up.
- Feel free to substitute butter for the vegetable shortening
- Also feel free to substitute lard for the vegetable shortening, as that’s traditional in biscochitos
- Use light rum or a sweet table wine in place of the brandy (the flavor will be a little different)
- If you avoid alcohol you can also use apple juice in place of the brandy, but again the flavor will be different
What are biscochitos?
Biscochitos, also known as biscochos or bizcochitos, are a shortbread-like cookie flavored with anise and cinnamon.
Spanish explorers introduced the cookie to New Mexico back in the 1500s, and it has become a tradition in that region over the centuries. In fact, in 1989 biscochitos were officially declared to be New Mexico’s Official State Cookie (in all caps).
What does anise taste like?
Anise seed tastes like black licorice, although it’s not quite as strong as your typical licorice whip.
Anise is the primary flavoring agent in biscochitos and combined with the cinnamon sugar topping on these cookies, it’s absolutely divine.
If you don’t use a lot of anise, I recommend finding a grocery store that sells spices in bulk. That way you can just buy what you’re going to use quickly.
Whole anise has a shelf-life of about four years (per Google) but even in that amount of time I wouldn’t use an entire jar.
Can I freeze biscochito dough?
You sure can! Biscochito dough freezes well because it contains a lot of fat (extra fat means extra yummy right?).
Tightly wrap each portion of dough in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake, just thaw the dough in the freezer overnight. In the morning, you’ll be ready to roll out your dough and bake.
I don’t recommend freezing the dough after you’ve cut out the shapes, though—it dries out that way.
If you’ve already cut out the cookies it’s better to bake them, then freeze the baked cookies. (They’ll last in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for 3 months.)
Did you make these biscochitos? Awesome! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. Then post a pic over on Insta–tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your delicious creations!
Biscochitos are a shortbread-like cookie flavored with cinnamon and anise. They're easy to make and are delicious for the holidays!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening or lard
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup + 1/3 cup granulated sugar divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons anise seed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup brandy*
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.
- Beat the butter and shortening together in a large bowl with an electric mixer set to medium speed. When the mixture is very creamy, add add 3/4 cup sugar, the egg, the anise, and the vanilla, then beat to combine.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then turn mixer to low and beat in the dry ingredients until just incorporated—don’t over-mix, the dough will be crumbly.
- With mixer still on low, beat in 1/4 cup of brandy. If necessary, continue adding brandy 1 tablespoon at a time to make a firm, cohesive dough.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and wrap each with plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes (or up to 1 day).
- Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
- Working with 1 portion of dough at at time, roll out to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter.** Arrange cut-out cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake 10 to 16 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack set on a large rimmed baking sheet (or any surface that’s easy to clean).
- While cookies are still hot, stir together the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Dust the hot cookies with the cinnamon sugar mixture, then let the cookies cool.
- Uneaten cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- *You can substitute rum or a sweet table wine but the flavor will be slightly different. If you avoid alcohol you can use apple juice.
- **You can use a larger cookie cutter but your baking time will increase.
- The dough freezes well. Freeze tightly wrapped portions of dough for up to 3 months. When you're ready to bake, defrost the cookie dough overnight in the fridge. The dough should be ready to roll and bake in the morning.
- Be sure your cookies are still hot when you sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar. The heat allows the sugar to melt into the cookies a little, meaning the topping stays in place; if the cookies are cool the topping will come right off.