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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

holiday cookies, holiday cheer, holiday ornaments and no bahumbug


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.

Christos Biscochitos

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)

coating
(I altered the traditional cinnamon and sugar coating to include unsweetened mexican chocolate, anise seeds and lavender flowers)

traditional coating
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.

45 comments:

Claudia said...

I'm going to make those cookies - the traditional way - there's something in me that connects by being traditional. I have to say that making ornaments together is one of the loveliest traditions I have come across and yes, they are very beautiful. Truly.

Mexico in my kitchen said...

We have some cookies in Mexico that look exactly the same. We call them "Hojarascas" because when you eat them they make a crispy sound like when you are walking on dry leaves in the Fall season. Those cookies have the same ingredients.

I know, it is really cold here too. I supposed to be in NY this friday, but have to reschedule until January. I bet it will be even colder by then.

I have to make some using your recipe.

Mely

daphne said...

ooo.. cinnamon always scream christmas to me! these little cookies look amazing and certainly festive!

FOODalogue said...

Nice traditions, especially making your own ornaments. What fun for your son...I'm guessing he gets to use tools this year to cut the cans.

I'm off to make myself a cup of cocoa too. It's in the 30s in FL!

Table Talk said...

Crispy little cookies-love these! I thought I knew about every cookie out there. Guess not-these are new to me~

vanillasugar said...

wow you really do get into the xmas spirit. i should, i get kind of tired from all the baking, that all i want to do at night is collaspe.

Creative Mish said...

Very creative! They're amazing

Wilde in the Kitchen said...

I can't believe those ornaments are made out of soda cans! They look amazing! So do the cookies :)

Vickie said...

Those cookies sound delicious, Christo - how sweet to share your grandmother's recipe. And I love the ornaments - they're really quite something and they re purpose! Happy holidays!

5 Star Foodie said...

Scrumptious cookies, love the addition of anise! Those are neat ornaments too :)

Taste of Beirut said...

I always loved biscochitos because of the anise and their plain look.
Your Xmas ornaments look fantastic! I saw a tree decorated with those in Tyre this past summer and they were sparkling in the sun and twinkling it was quite a sight, as the tree was totally bare (no leaves)

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Wonderful cookies with the anise. I would like lavender in them also as you suggested. Stay warm. It's bitter cold here in the mountains with snow.

My heart will always be in the tropics and I would give anything to be living in the islands again. It doesn't feel much like Christmas there, but at least it's warm. Christmas trees there are outrageously expensive because they have to be imported and duty is added.

Your adorable ornaments would be perfect for a tree in the tropics.
Sam

highlandsranchfoodie said...

Christo, I am loving that cookie recipe and your tradition of making ornaments. My son has done that for years and I think it's great. We're finally getting some festive weather here in Denver tonight. After a 70 degree week, we're promised 8 inches of snow tonight. That's a good thing. :-)

snugs said...

wow, 2 recipes in a row...is all that cold weather getting to the dog?? You know I am in the tropics and there is a spare room ready whenever y'all want to come visit and warm up!

♥peachkins♥ said...

I would love to try and live where there is snow...


The Peach Kitchen
peach and things
blowing peachkisses

Anette said...

Very creative ornaments! I might just have to make more Christmas cookies, I think there is holes in my cookie tins!

Mo Diva said...

loving the lil cookies. I will bring the cocoa.
i didnt know you were crafty that way. I think you should post how to make those awesome ornaments!
they really are awesome

teresa said...

i want to make these just so i can spend the day saying biscochito! seriously though, they look awesome.

love the homemade ornaments, a happy happy holiday to you as well!

Marjie said...

Both your ornaments and cookies are terrific! One of my sons is driving home from NC today, a flight Friday, 2 more over the weekend, and then the baking frenzy begins!

Jessie Carty said...

are those cookies more of a soft or crunchy cookie? with the name I assume crunchier.

Love the soda/beer can decoration idea!

Rebecka said...

Hey Christo, I just made my Mom's recipe for Biscochitos yesterday. I'll be posting pics and recipe sometime this week!! My Mother's family recipe made with Lard! Good Lord..did I just admit to cooking with lard??

Yours look delish!

Jeannie said...

Your family are so creative, the ornaments look fabulous and so does your cookies! unusual flavoring.

whatscookingwithdoc said...

Looks Fab! Isn't amazing that the simple things done right, like those cookies, can be so darn good!

Debbie said...

Oh those cookies sound wonderful. I love anise. Love that this is a recipe from your grandmother. Old family recipes are the best!

Chow and Chatter said...

wow great cookies and love the christmas decorations I have been doing so many to entertain the little one

Merry Christmas Christo

Rebecca

Barbara said...

Love this cookie recipe! The lavender is a super idea. I can always find something unusual here....
And that sure is the case with your ornaments! Hope nobody got cut fingers, but I don't know how you could avoid it!

Momma Cupcake said...

I haven't met a cookie I haven't liked yet! I hope you have a wonderful holiday Christo!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Those biscochitos look scrumptious. I think we'd call them biscottini here. I am all for tradition, but I like your spin on them too. Making an ornament each year is a great tradition to maintain. You are one creative family. I just love those ornaments, and I am way in favor of making art from used objects.

Megan said...

Those cookies are adorable, and I love the components (like the Mexican chocolate) that you incorporated in the traditional topping.

Angie's Recipes said...

The cookies sound and look awesome! I love those ornaments, very pretty!

Magic of Spice said...

I love biscochitos and I more love yours...Snow, no such thing here, but I delight in everyones snow filled adventures (plus now shoveling snow for me).
Beautiful Holiday treats, I will get our resident baker on them asap ;)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Those ornaments are fantastic! I like the idea of "little cookies." Too often, holiday cookies can be over the top, but simple flavors like anise and cinnamon are the best.

The Duo Dishes said...

You never cease to amaze with your creativity. The cookies look awesome, but right now it's these ornaments. HOW in the world did you make these out of beer and soda cans? How Doggy?! Amazed.

nutmegnanny said...

These look great! I love the addition of lavender...yum!

Chef Fresco said...

I have never heard of biscochito, though I am all for some! And your homemade ornaments are adorable! =)

Cynthia said...

I love anise and the use omit in this cookie is inspiring. Definitely have to use this spice more often.

Heff said...

I'm not a big sweet eater, but your food pix ALWAYS look awesome.

Tanya Kristine said...

that is very sweet. what a nice tradition.

Velva said...

I would be happy to trade climates with you ( I live in Florida).... Love the handmade ornaments. That is really nice way to get in the spirit, not too mention hot cocoa ( with a little something in it) and a few cinnamon and anise cookies.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Cheers.
Velva

Diana's Cocina said...

Wish I had a plate of these to go with my mexican hot chocolat ~ Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

lisa is cooking said...

The chocolate and lavender in your topping sounds great! Beautiful ornaments too. Merry Christmas to you!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Be good 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Christo, I wish you a very merry Christmas filled with wonderful food, family and friends. Happy holidays to you and your family.
Sam

Joanne said...

I think that just saying "biscochito" will put me in the holiday spirit! These look so cute and delicious!

And actually, I DID in fact lose your number. My phone died this summer and I guess we haven't spoken since then so I don't have it. Tragic? I think yes.

Jamie said...

What gorgeous ornaments! Wow! I want to spend Christmas with your family! And what a lovely thought sitting around drinking cocoa and eating these fabulous cookies. What a perfect way to enjoy a snowy day. Now send me some snow, please. My snow dance has not been working.

Joan Nova said...

Love the tradition of making your own ornaments and, of course, that's to be followed with cocoa and cookies.

Very merry to you and yours!

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