This is our version of New Mexico’s official cookie, to which the lard adds a unique, sandy texture. This recipe deliciously showcases the combined tastes of aniseed, orange zest and cassia, which unite to create this festive cookie that’s great with black tea or coffee.
In a large bowl, sift and mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the ground aniseed and orange peels.
In a separate bowl, combine the lard and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk until a creamy, homogenous consistence is obtained.
Add the humid mixture to the dry one and blend enough to incorporate all the ingredients.
Continue mixing and kneading the dough using your hands until a ball is formed. Separate the dough into two equal halves.
Carefully wrap the dough balls and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough balls on a lightly floured surface until they achieve a ¼ - inch thickness (3/4 cm). (You can bake the remaining ball immediately or keep it refrigerated for about one more week).
Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut out the cookies and transfer them onto the baking sheet. Make sure that the dough is still firm before placing in the oven – if the dough is too soft, refrigerate for another 10 minutes.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the outer edges are golden. Leave on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, allowing the cookies to harden.
For the cassia sugar: In a container large enough to hold the cookies, mix the granulated sugar and ground cassia. Coat each warm cookie with the aromatic sugar and place on a plate.