Bizcochitos: Have You Tried One?

We’ve been focusing on Latin American dishes and ingredients this week on The Kitchn, so this was the perfect excuse for me to introduce you to one of my very favorite cookies:
the bizchochito.

I first learned about bizchochitos when I was traveling through Ecuador a few years ago. We had the chance to visit an actual bizcochito factory, see how they’re made, and bring home our weight in these simple, special cookies. Now if you do a quick online search, you’ll notice there are numerous spellings for the cookies, from bizcochito to biscochitos (and there’s fierce arguments for both). Apparently the lard-based treats are incredibly big state-side, and are actually New Mexico’s official cookie (I’m not sure about you, but I never knew that states had official cookies). Cookie rumor has it that they originally hail from 16th-century Spain, where they were known as “mantecosas,” meaning “buttery.”

So what exactly is a bizcochito? Traditionally, they are a lard-based cookie (although some folks make them with butter, too) laced with a little anise and a dash of cinnamon. There are a few different varieties depending on the country and region you find them in, but the most traditional bizchochito tends to be a special occasion cookie and is often made in a fleur-de-lis shape. As far as taste? Think about the most buttery shortbread you’ve ever had…but lightly spiced and on the cakey side.

Make Your Own:
Authentic Bizcochitos from Mary Cordova via The Food Network
David Tannis’ Bizcochitos via Lara Ferroni
Orange-Anise Bizcochitos from Sunset Magazine