Wicked Little Bizcochitos

There are some things that scare me to death:
Unexpected late night telephone calls. California wild fires. El chupacabras hiding beneath my bed. And painfully thin celebrity It-Girls--now that is scary.

Am I afraid of these bizcochitos, these delicately delicious Mexican cookies? Nunca.

However, it is only fair to warn you that this cookie is nothing more than lard or butter, white flour, anise seeds, sugar and toasted pine nuts. If you eat one, it might lodge indefinitely on your belly, your nalguitas—your rear-end, your hips, and other unmentionable places. I should also warn you that you will not care. You will simply adore the delicate crunch, the sweet, licorice-like taste of the anise seeds, the way this cookie melts in your mouth. To munch on this little sublime piece of manteca—lard will fill your taste buds with alegria, no matter the fatty consequences.

And that's perfectly okay.

Because really, what is so beautiful about cracked nails, dry, flaky skin and dull, lifeless hair? The disappearance of that rosy glow of healthy radiance, leaving a sadly gaunt, if not emaciated face? Or, shivering like a Beverly Hills Chihuahua when a cold wind blows and you feel it rattling your skinny bones? Well, that scrumptious bit o' fat not only makes food taste delicious, but can help you look more beautiful, rounding out curves and putting some life into your skin, hair and nails. María Félix looked like a girl who enjoyed a cookie or a tamale or two and maybe even three, and look at how lovely she was (click here). As my little papá says, get the pointy?
So eat a few of these wicked little bizcochitos guilt and fear-freenot the whole batch, of course—and share the joy with friends, family and even that wannabe celebrity It-Girl friend of yours—the poor girl, she needs this cookie. There are many things to be afraid of or to feel guilty about, such as ___________(well, I'll let you fill in the blank)—but eating this cookie should not be one of them.
Now, don't you feel better?
Wicked Little Bizcochitos

I adapted this recipe from a recipe I found in The Los Angeles Times food section many years ago. Its cooks and writers never fail to publish some wonderful and authentic Mexican recipes. Gracias to my favorite newspaper.
1 cup butter or lard, softened; or, a combination of both.
¾ cup cane sugar

2 egg yolks

2 cups flour, plus a little more for dusting the board

2 teaspoons anise seeds

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ to ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup toasted pine nuts. You can substitute chopped toasted pecans.
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, beat the lard and/or butter. Then add sugar and beat until airy.
Add egg yolks and the anise seeds. Beat well, gradually adding flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add the toasted pine nuts and blend into the dough.
Wrap cookie dough in plastic wrapping and chill for at least an hour.
Flour a board and a rolling pin. Then roll out the flour until it is about ¼ inch thick. You can cut them into little squares or use a cookie cutter if you like.
OR: roll up the cookies into little balls about ¾ inch or less in diameter.
Place them in an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until they are golden (not golden brown). (Note: Length of baking time depends on your oven and the thickness of the cookies.) Remove cookies from the oven. You can let them cool for 10 minutes or so. I like to carefully remove the cookies using a very flat stainless steel spatula and place the cookies on a brown paper bag. It removes excess fat and makes for a very flaky cookie. If you like, dredge the cookies in powdered sugar as I did here.
Enjoy with coffee or tea or after a family fiesta.
Now go run a mile.


Pearmama said...

Awwwww, you just gave me some very good, warm memories. When I was little, my mom always made these cookies. Then she stopped, I don't know the reason why. A few years ago, someone gave me a batch of these cookies. One bite and I was transported back to my mom's yellow kitchen in San Diego. Mmmmm, the distinct licorice flavor, the crispness from the lard (!), and then the fine dusting of sugar on top. We would roll them out like sugar cookies. They were the best. Thanks for posting this. I just might make some with my little ones.

P.S. Now I remember why she stopped making these--the lard!! This is the same reason she started buying the unprepared masa for her tamales. Until we discovered how yucky it tasted. Now we are back to the prepared and the lard! We figured--shoot, it's only once a year!

La Traductora said...

My Dear Muchachita,
My sentiments exactly! No anemic tasting Mexican anything for me--not even a cookie.

Anonymous said...

OMG thiS is the recipe i was longing for; my granda make this for Navidades but i was so young i never Get a hold of the recipe. a friend give me her recipe and they were delicuos but i knew they were missin something it WAS ANIS AND PINONES THANK YOU VERY MUCH KEEP WITH THE GOOD WORK today is my first visit to you site HAPPY THANKSGIVEN