Tag Archives: Brandy

The Official State Cookie of New Mexico!

Biscochitos - fresh out of the oven and on my dining room table!

Biscochitos – fresh out of the oven and on my dining room table!

Biscochitos!!!  Say this word to any Mexican and they will immediately begin to drool!  I kid you not!

These cookies are some of the best you will ever taste.  They are SO good that the New Mexico legislature named them the official state cookie in 1989!  Of course, the cookies go further back when the Spanish brought the recipe over from Spain to Mexico many moons ago…

My New Mexico Zuniga family makes the best biscochitos ever.  No lie…I always look forward to having a few at our family reunions…that is, if I can get to them in time!  They are in high demand and you really have to grab one when you can or they are gone in a flash!  Both my cousins Nelinda (aka Danda) and Hortencia (aka Wiro) each have their own unique recipes of this delicious cookie.

I’ve been doing a little research into the ingredients and decided to give this one a try for my annual cookie swap party.  I always make Mexican Wedding Cake cookies and one other in case a friend comes to the party and doesn’t have time to make cookies.  This year I decided on biscochitos as my “one other.”

Ingredients for my biscochitos...except for the cloves...I decided not to use those...

Ingredients for my biscochitos…except for the cloves…I decided not to use those…

One of the main ingredients in the recipe is lard.  Yep, LARD!  As my cousin Danda always says…when people see that the recipe takes one pound of lard, they get a little scared of these cookies!  I’ve seen a number of variations to this cookie but substituting lard for anything else is a no-no.  One of my cousins uses cloves in her recipe but I opted not to use this in mine.  One uses brandy in hers while my other cousin does not.  It’s interesting how a recipe can vary.  I decided on using the brandy and I can tell you…wow!!!  What a great flavor!

So let’s get started…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Sift the 6 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together 2 cups of lard and 1 1/2 cups sugar until smooth. Mix in 1 teaspoon of anise extract (I over poured a bit), and beat until fluffy. Stir in 2 eggs, one at a time. Add the sifted ingredients and 1/4 cup of brandy, and stir until well blended.
  3. Roll dough into balls.
  4. Mix together the 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon; roll the balls in the mixture.
  5. Place cookies onto baking sheets and gently press down on the mixture so they aren’t perfectly round.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms are lightly browned.

Que bueno!!!  Here are a few photos of the prep work in a slideshow!

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Sparkling Sangria on the 4th of July!

All the ingredients gathered in the Boondocks Gang kitchen and ready to go!

All the ingredients gathered in the Boondocks Gang kitchen and ready to go!

Several times a year, my husband and I get together with a long-time group of friends.  We call ourselves “The Boondocks Gang.”  This name came about many years ago when we were having dinner at a little place in Guntersville called Boondocks.  We thought we needed a name and that just seemed perfect for us.

This year we decided to gather for the Fourth of July.  We always have a theme – of course, this year’s theme was a no-brainer!  We had plenty of patriotic hats and red, white and blue USA beads.  Sometimes we even have a signature cocktail thanks to my sweet friend Karen, who loves throwing things together and creating the perfect drink.

I had tried a fabulous white wine sangria at Melt Restaurant in Avondale a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since.  So, I suggested we make a sparkling sangria for our signature drink this time.  We (the girls) had just spent our usual first full day at the lake making our thrift store jaunt…funny how we’ve gotten into a certain routine with our trips!  Always fun…we love looking for bargains and then coming back to the lake house and recalling our day over wine or other cocktails.  This time we couldn’t wait to get started and got right into sangria making!  I almost couldn’t get everyone to slow down enough to take the preparation photos!

A pretty shot of the oranges - waiting to be squeezed into the mixture.

A pretty shot of the oranges – waiting to be squeezed into the mixture.

Before I get into the recipe we used, I thought I would add a quick little history of Sangria.  I was surprised to read that sangria was first introduced to the United States at the World Fair in 1964!  Sangria has its roots in Spain.  It is traditionally red but can also be made with white wine or “cava” which is the Spanish version of sparkling wine.  There is also an interesting post called “Blood, Wine and War: The History of Sangria” that talks about when the Romans conquered Spain and were the first to plant the vineyards that produced the red varietal grapes that make the best wine.  They called the drink Sangria which meant “blood” because of its red color.  (The Spanish word for blood is “sangre.” ) The SangriaSecrets.com website also has some interesting recipes I may try too!  Their Cranberry-Orange sangria sounds interesting…

Now back to present day…

Karen remembered a recipe from Columbia Restaurant and quickly looked it up on her phone.  Honestly, what did we ever do without Google and our smart phones?  We started with a full bottle of Cupcake Prosecco.  Next we added Brandy, Grand Marnier and Rose’s Lemon Juice.  Freshly squeezed oranges and a can of Sprite (lemon-lime soda) followed.  Oh, and Karen never measured a thing…she’s just that good!  We cut up limes, more oranges and added a maraschino cherry to each glass.  Finally, we added ice to the pitcher and began pouring.  I have to say the glasses looked beautiful!  We all grabbed our glasses, gathered in front of the fireplace while my husband took several pictures of us posing with our sparkling 4th of July cocktails.

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I thought this would be a girls only drink but the guys were watching us make this refreshing beverage and wanted some too!  So, on to making pitcher #2!  Sorry, no picture of the guys drinking this fruity drink.  They wouldn’t pose…

SALUD!

Cheers from the Boondocks Gang ladies!

Cheers from the Boondocks Gang ladies!

 

One of our outtakes!

One of our outtakes!

Salud!...from me and Karen!

Salud!…from me and Karen!