Rich Cinnamon & Sugar Cookies
Three years ago in New Mexico I met the Otero family. Steve orchestrated the matanza, or traditional pig feast famous in the Southwest for using every part of the hog. He browned back ribs and pork loin in a cast-iron pan 3-feet wide over a wood fire and then braised the meat for an hour in his wife’s red chile sauce. Later that day over coffee, I tried his wife Jeanette’s biscochitos, a small sugar cookie traditionally served at holiday time. Jeanette is an amazing cook. She has the gift. Her biscochitos have made Christmas in our house a perfect cookie experience. One bite of these amazingly balanced little beauties will have you hooked. They are the sine qua non of the holiday cookie world. Trust me.
- 1 pound pure lard, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon anise extract
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375°. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the lard with 1 1/2 cups of the sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and anise extract.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add the lard mixture and knead gently until a dough forms.
On a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out half of the dough 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out cookies as close together as possible. Working in batches, transfer them to ungreased baking sheets, spacing them 1/2 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool slightly on the baking sheets.
In a large shallow bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup of sugar with the cinnamon. Dredge the warm cookies in the cinnamon sugar and transfer them to a rack to let cool completely. Repeat to make the remaining cookies.
MAKE AHEAD The cookies can be stored in an airtight tin for up to 5 days.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.