After tasting these great cookies in Taos, NM, where they are the official state cookie, I set out to find a recipe and prepare them for my guests here at the Ranch House. Traditionally they are made with lard, but I found a good approach using butter instead. This recipe is a redux of a few I considered, combining the best elements: plenty of anise seed, orange zest, layering the dough a bit, and dusting with cinnamon sugar.
Pulse in food processor until mixed: 2 C. flour, 3/4 C. sugar, 1/2 t. baking powder, 1/8 t. salt, and 1 T. ground anise seed. Add 12 T. cold butter cut into bits and pulse until mixture resembles course meal. Add 1 large egg, 1 t. vanilla, 2 T. ice water, the zest of 1 orange and pulse until ball starts to form. Remove to floured surface and knead a few times. Roll dough out with rolling pin, folding over and lightly re-rolling a few times. Form into disc, wrap in film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Roll out on floured surface to 1/4 in. thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets, sprinkle tops of cookies with 1/2 t. cinnamon mixed with 2 T. sugar and place in freezer for 15 minutes. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes until set, slightly colored on edges but not brown. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
I love that New Mexico has a State Cookie. That is a state with it’s priorities straight!