I was introduced to biscochitos the first Christmas I spent living in New Mexico. I had never heard of them before and didn’t know what to expect but after one bite they quickly became a favorite — no wonder they are the state cookie of New Mexico! The biscochito (meaning “little cookie”) is a soft, not-too-sweet shortbread-like cookie with a light licorice essence that is perfect for dunking in a cup of tea. We always make a few different types of cookies every year for the holidays and the biscochitos are always a favorite of ours as well as those with whom we have shared them! (And they’re always the first ones gone from our holiday cookie tins.)
I like the occasional cookie, candy, or slice of cake, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not one to indulge in sweets very often. When I found out that my body can’t tolerate gluten (and dairy) it was around Christmastime and I was disappointed that it was going to be the last year that I would be able to enjoy Christmas cookies with my family. That was not actually true, because we found that many of our favorite holiday cookie recipes do rather well with gluten free all purpose flour mixes!
Today I’m sharing with you our recipe for gluten free biscochitos which can easily be adapted back to traditional biscochitos using regular all purpose flour. Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for the traditional New Mexican shortbread-like cookie but made with gluten free flour. Not too sweet & perfect for dunking! Not gluten free? Just substitute the same amount of traditional flour so you can enjoy them too!
Use whichever cookie cutters are your favorites. You will need to slightly adjust the cooking time depending on the size of the cookies you choose to make.
Cookie dough Ingredients:
1 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar (our original recipe would use 1/2 cup sugar but I think the gluten free version benefits from a bit of extra sugar.)
1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds (the ones that look like fennel seeds, NOT the more fragrant pods of star anise, which I like to use for garnishing the cookie platter)
3 cups gluten free all-purpose flour (we have used various brands with good results)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup apple juice (you may need slightly more or less)
additional flour for dusting work surface
Ingredients for Cinnamon-Sugar topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
With an electric mixer, beat the shortening and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until fully incorporated. Add in the egg and anise seeds and beat again until light and fluffy.
Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
Add about half the apple juice and using your hands, begin to knead the dough until it sticks together. Add more apple juice as needed. The consistency and texture should be like play dough but not sticky.
Mix the 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.
Lightly dust your work surface and roll out the dough (I usually start with just half) to a thickness of between 1/4 and 1/2 inch. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
Place each cutout cookie into the cinnamon sugar mixture and coat evenly with the cinnamon sugar, gently pressing it into the surface so that it sticks, before placing on non-stick cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and crumbly. Transfer cookies to cooling racks and allow to come to room temperature before enjoying.
I like to put together a platter of the cookies and garnish with a few star anise which has a pleasant, holiday feel and allows the licorice fragrance to lightly scent the platter. Store the cookies in parchment-lined cookie tins for 1-2 weeks. (If they last that long!)
Now it’s time for you to brew up a pot of tea and join me in sharing some gluten free biscochitos!
This post is part of the Pinterest Party Holiday Blog Hop. Pinterest Party is a Facebook group for pinners who love to collaborate and share. If you’re gathering ideas & inspiration for the holidays, be sure to follow along as each post is published.