Biscochitos are a thin, buttery sugar cookie sprinkled with cinnamon and flecked with whole anise seeds to give them a mild licorice flavor. This cookie has been a traditional dessert in New Mexico for hundreds of years. It was introduced to the region by the early Spanish settlers. In 1989 an Albuquerque baker helped to pass New Mexico House Bill 406 which designated the biscochito as the official state cookie. Thanks to this bill, New Mexico became the first state to have a state cookie. Currently the only other state which has a state cookie is Massachusetts, which has claimed the chocolate chip cookie. Biscochitos are traditionally served at celebrations such as weddings and baptisms. They are also popular during the Christmas season.
Here is the recipe that I use to make biscochitos. It makes about 30 cookies.
Use a standing mixer or a hand mixer to beat together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix until the two are pale yellow in color and fluffy. While mixing, add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the anise seeds and vanilla.
In another bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Add this to the butter and egg mixture and blend with the mixer or a spoon. If the dough is too thick or dry you can thin it with a bit of water or milk. Form the dough into a ball and place it in the mixing bowl and into the fridge for a few hours to firm.
When ready, take a half or a third of the dough and return the rest to the fridge. Roll this piece out on the kitchen counter or a cutting board with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters of your choice to cut out the cookies. One source reports that the traditional shape for these cookies is a fleur de lis, however I just use a round cutter. Sprinkle the tops with the sugar and cinnamon. Place the cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and bake them in a 375 degree oven for about 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes and remove them from the cookie sheet to let them fully cool. Repeat with the rest of the dough in the fridge.
The dough can be kept wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for weeks. The cookies also keep well when packed in an airtight container.