Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Cookies

Now I have gone over the top with Christmas spirit. Last night I baked bizcochitos – yum! If I could make tamales, I probably would. Instead, I called my brother in Austin, and put in my order for some good tamales to eat on Christmas Eve. Yep, it is not about the decorations for me; it is about the food.

For those of you who don’t know, bizcochitos are a bread cookie with anise seed. They can be decorated with colorful sprinkles, but usually they are just sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The recipe I use calls for a pound of butter and six cups of flour. I did not have any brandy to put in my batch; so I used rum. I use a cookie press, which is just easier than rolling and cutting when you have so much dough. They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and they bring back special memories.

When we lived in McAllen, some teachers and I were throwing a baby shower for a coworker. The other teachers sent me to a local bakery to pick up several dozen pan de polvo cookies. It was my introduction to the Mexican shortbread cookie. I had to go back and buy another dozen cookies, because I ate so many of them before getting them to the baby shower. They just melted in my mouth - I was hooked.

Years later in New Mexico, I discovered the bizcochito which is similar to the pan de polvo cookie. I found an old recipe book with northern NM recipes and started making cookies. They became Bo’s favorite cookies. Last night while I was baking the cookies, GBN1 called on the phone to tell me about her weekend. When I told her that I was making bizcochitos, she knew immediately how special that was. She also informed me that she already had some bizcochitos. She also has a new Tinkerbell coloring book, which she asked if she could bring to my house and spend the night.

One time, while living in NM, some friends and I got together to bake bizcochitos. I’m sure it was for some special occasion, but I cannot remember our purpose. I do remember the fun and the fellowship. My friend lived in an earthship house – completely off the grid. We used her kitchen to make the cookies. We used her fancy mixer to mix the ingredients. Her husband called the fancy mixer "a watt-sucker." I had never thought about how much watts it took to bake cookies, but when you only have solar power, it becomes more important. It gave me a different outlook on things. To this day I cannot get my mixer out without thinking of my old friend in her funky house. Another friend that helped us that day was Susie. Susie was from Massachusetts and new to the bizcochito tradition. She always had such wide-eyed wonder at the world and was a wonderful friend. I have written about Susie our friendship in a past blog.

Yep, it is definitely about the food and friendships.

8 comments:

Jenn said...

It's all about the food and the kids to me too !

Inquiries said...

We make tamales for new years every year. I love them! I have never had bizcochitos before. They sounds good!

Buck said...

Ah, Lou. Yer KILLIN me with all this foodie talk! ;-)

I gotta make a couple of calls. A couple of years back I was gifted with a couple dozen of the most wonderful home-made tamales. T'is the season and I'm jonesing pretty hard for some of those husk-wrapped wonders...

Living in an earthship and dealing with watt-suckers. What a concept... {insert wry grin and an eye-roll here)

Becky said...

Mmmmm, food is definitely one of my favorite holiday things, too!

Fire Fox said...

I'm with Buck - You're killing me with all the food talk Lou! Can't get good tamales here... I used to get them when I was in Ohio, from a Mexican family that moved up from Texas. I'm now droooooling. I just printed the recipe for the cookies... yum!

Jo Castillo said...

Hi there, Jennie came out yesterday and we made tamales today. Also meat for what Gene's family call chile rellenos, but they are not! They are pork and beef shredded and then green chile and spices. Made up like meat balls and dipped in egg whites and deep fried. Yummmmmy. We will make them tomorrow along with the biscochitos. We make the cookies small and as thin as possible for double melting in the mouth. Ha. We will have posole and enchilada casserole and beans and tortillas. I don't make empanadas, but will miss the ones Gene's sister makes in NM. Oh, gotta go get me a piece of fudge to make it till morning...... Thanks for sharing.

Bag Blog said...

Jo, I have the makin's for some pasole, but I may just have to show up at your house.

Susie said...

Hi Lou!!!!! It's me, your old friend Susie!! It was amazing to find your blog. Your stories are bringing back floods of memories. I am in Massachusetts. E-mail me when you get a chance, ok? Congratulations on being a Grandmother! Talk to you soon.