When the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful and the weather man says it will snow, it will snow, it will snow - that is when you wished you lived in a tropical climate. New York City is a beautiful place in the snow and at the holidays but you have to brave the cold to enjoy it and the best way to do that is with a little hot chocolate and some biscochitos.
Biscochito? Whats a biscochito you might be asking yourself. Well, a biscochito is literally a little cookie. Anise and cinnamon are the driving flavors behind these little shortening crumbles that my grandmother used to make pretty much year 'round but for some reason I always associate them with the holidays. Dont expect some old hand me down recipe here - pretty much like everything else I take what is old traditional and I put my own little spin on it.
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening (I made the lavender flower batch with butter)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
4 cups flour
1/2 tp salt
1 tp cinnamon
1 tp anise (I also made a batch with lavender flowers so 1 tp of lavender flowers)
(I altered the traditional cinnamon and sugar coating to include unsweetened mexican chocolate, anise seeds and lavender flowers)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tps cinnamon
Cream sugar and shortening until light and fluffy (extra fluffy even- if you want) add the rest of the ingredients and mix until a dough is formed adding more flour if necessary. Roll out on a floured surface and cut like you would sugar cookies. Bake in 400 degree oven on greased cookie sheets or sheets lined with parchment or on a silpat (like I did) for 8 minutes until the bottoms are golden. While still warm sprinkle on the coating mixture and let cool till firm.
Put them on a plate and invite your guests and friends over for some hot cocoa.
We sat around sipping our cocoa and nibbling on our biscochitos making christmas tree ornaments, like we do every year. Every year we make ornaments out of something different. We have made them out of the bakeable clay, we have made them out of wire , we have made them out of sticks and pine cones - you name it - this year they are made out of used soda and beer cans.
I think you will agree that they are absolutely beautiful. Its the season of joy and I hope each and every one of you find more joy than you can handle.