The last week has been full of the unusual, the trying. Biscuit sprung her tail, but a few anti-inflammatory meds and it wags and waves high again. More daily life occurred during the week with some lovely weather to make small things bearable. Then the horrible scenes from Paris began to flash on the screen. I am not sure how much more hatred the world can hold without the planet earth exploding. I’m still processing the horror.
After not sleeping on Friday night thinking of many things, I bounded out of bed early and turned the oven on. I have wanted to make bischochitos for some time, and I declared yesterday the day. I was either going to conquer them or have a colossal failure on my hands, but either way, I was going to do it.
Bischochitos are the state cookie of New Mexico and have been since 1989. It is the only state I know of that has a state cookie. (Missouri has a state food-ice cream cones.) These cookies are served for special occasions, but are out in force for Christmas holidays. Everyone has their favorite recipe, and the basic recipe was from Spain. It is a combination of shortbread and sugar cookie.
The newest issue of the New Mexico magazine has an old family recipe in the cooking section this month. The family name is Padilla and they have lived in New Mexico since the early 1700s. I figured if this recipe had been around this long, I’d better try it. The first thing that was unusual was the use of a pound (yes, a whole pound!) of lard. I have never cooked with lard but I gave it a try. Anise seeds and a dash of rum were the other two differences from a traditional sugar cookie.
I have never ever had success with cutting out cookies, but again, I was going to try. I was pleasantly surprised to see how wonderful the dough was to work with thanks to the aerated lard. It rolled out so nicely to the 3/8 inch requirement and the cut outs lifted easily. Of course, I used just a simple biscuit cutter than DH had made for me years ago.
I can attest to the cookie’s goodness warm, cold, with tea, without anything. The lard made the cookie flaky like a good pie crust. (I can’t make a decent pie crust either!) I put a large bowl of them in the freezer or they would be gone already. I want to see how they do frozen, but I bet they will do fine for Christmas if they stay frozen that long.
I have heard the glories of the bischochitos for a long while, and now I know they are truly good. They are simple with a long history behind them; they are comfort food. I think they will be a new favorite at this house. Yesterday seemed a perfect day to reach for comfort food.
Do you have a favorite comfort food or a regional favorite?