We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cookie Recipe #340 - Biscochitos

These cookies are made during the Christmas season in areas of Mexico and the American Southwest. The crushed anise seeds in this buttery cookie remind you of chewing on a piece of black licorice.

Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds, crushed, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups butter-flavored shortening, 1 egg, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons orange juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon-sugar (optional), crushed anise seeds (optional).

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, the 1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening for 30 seconds. Add egg, sugar, orange juice, and vanilla. Bat unti light. Add in flour until thoroughly mixed. Divide dough in half.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/4 inch thick. Using floured 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and additional crushed anise seeds.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven about 9 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

"Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies", Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA, 2003.

Cookies Rule!!!

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