Orange-Anise Bizcochitos

These crisp sugar cookies are Mary Castañeda Balzer's version of ones her mother made every Christmas in New Mexico. Lightly crush the anise seeds with a mortar and pestle or chop roughly with a knife. Use 2- to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters.


Makes 7 to 8 dozen cookies

Recipe from


Nutritional Information

Calories 37
Caloriesfromfat 41 %
Protein 0.4 g
Fat 1.7 g
Satfat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 4.8 g
Fiber 0.1 g
Sodium 12 mg
Cholesterol 2.3 mg


3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup orange juice
About 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons anise seeds, crushed (see note preceding)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat shortening and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice and beat just until combined.

2. In a medium bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups flour, anise seeds, baking powder, and salt. Add to shortening mixture, stir to mix, then beat until well blended. Divide dough in half and flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Unwrap dough. On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll one disk at a time to about 1/8 inch thick. With floured cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes and place about 1 inch apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. Gather excess dough into a ball, reroll, and cut out remaining cookies.

4. In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle about 1/8 teaspoon of the mixture over each cookie; save any remaining cinnamon sugar for other uses.

5. Bake cookies in a 350° regular or convection oven just until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes; if baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely.

Nutritional analysis per cookie.

Mary Castañeda Balzer, Santa Cruz, California,


December 2001
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