If you don't know what a Biscocho is, please check out my previous post by clicking HERE. For those of you that know what a Biscocho is then you know that they look like these. . .
I've shared these with different people in the past and they've mentioned that they taste like a Snickerdoodle Cookie. Well they are crispy and crunchy like a Snickerdoodle Cookie...but they have one thing that Snickerdoodle Cookies don't have and that's what makes them unique.
Snickerdoodle Cookies don't have ANISE in them. Anise Seed is a graybrown oval seed from Pimpinella anisum, a plant in the parsley family. It is related to caraway, dill, cumin, and fennel. Anise Seeds smell and taste like licorice and they are native to the Middle East and have been used as a medicine and as a flavor for medicine since prehistoric times.
Ancient Romans hung Anise plants near their pillows to prevent bad dreams. They also used Anise to aid digestion and ward off epileptic attacks. I kid you not when I tell you that I put a little bowl of ground up Anise in my bathroom so that when you first walk in you get this sweet, licoricey scent. It's like an inexpensive potpourri!
We bought Anise in seeds this year at Cost Plus World Market. We then ground them up using my mom's magic bullet! We tried using the blender but they just sank to the bottom under the blades. The bullet worked great, it ground them into a fairly fine powder.
Anise makes all the difference...trust me. Here's the recipe. We doubled it but I think the single is more than enough. You can also roll and cut them as you would a sugar cookie with fancy Christmas Cookie cutters but we just use a pizza cutter and cut them into squares and rectangles to honor my Tia Nico who use to make them the same way. Only she had a fancy little cutter that had a curlicue end so hers were very pretty.
1 T. Anise
3 Cups Lard (we actually use Crisco shortening)
2 Cups Sugar
10 Cups Flour
1 1/2 t. Salt
2 T. Cinnamon
1 t. Cloves
1/2 Cup Milk
1 T. Baking Soda***see comment below
Cream the lard or shortening with the sugar until you can barely feel the sugar. I recommend a Kitchen Aid Mixer to do all the work for you, but you can do it by hand. Add eggs and continue to cream and blend.
In separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed lard/shortening, sugar and eggs. Knead Well.
Roll out about a softball size ball of the dough until it's about 1/2 inch thick although you can make them as thick or thin as you like. No rules...they're your biscochos! Own them!
Cut using the pizza cutter into small squares or rectangles or you can use pretty cookie cutters...again your choice.
Place on cookie sheets, you don't need to flour or grease or spray with cooking spray, just the plain old cookie sheet. Bake at 450degrees til browned, watch them carefully. My mom says to put them in the broiler after for just a second to brown the tops and there you are.
These Biscochos actually get better with age. When you first taste them while they're fresh and warm they're going to be good. But when they cool off and the taste of the Anise develops...OMGosh! Plus your house is going to smell beautiful. Good luck and let me know if you make them. I would love to hear about it.
***The last ingredient says baking soda...it should be baking powder. My mom says either one is good but we didn't have baking soda so we used powder and then today my cousin Stella emailed me telling me it's baking powder...so lets all just use baking powder shall we?***
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