Hojarascas (Anise Sugar Cookies)

HojarascasThese are traditional Mexican cookies and there seem to be several slight variations of it on the Internet–all in Spanish.  So, just in case you are not bilingual, here is our family’s recipe in English–my gift to you! The pronunciation is:  oh-ha-ras-kas.  And since the first version of this recipe, daughter #2 has found that if you don’t want to make the anise and cinnamon tea this recipe calls for, a good alternative is adding 1 teaspoon of cinnamon extract and 1/2 teaspoon of anise extract to 1/4 cup of water.  I had some of her cookies she made this way and they were just as good!

Anise has a licorice flavor, but in my opinion, these do not taste like licorice.  The anise adds an indescribable flavor which makes these a real unique treat, not to mention the wonderful aroma that will waft through your home!  We make these at Christmas, but I think I will make them more often!

Hojarascas (Anise Sugar Cookies)
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tablespoon dried anise
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups lard or shortening
  • 1 egg
  • Cinnamon sugar for dusting: (1/2 cup sugar with 2 tableslpoons ground cinnamon)
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, add ½ cup water, the cinnamon sticks and the anise. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes until concentrated and you are left with ¼ cup of tea. Allow to cool. If you don't have enough tea, add more water and brew it again.
  2. NOTE: An alternate method to making the tea would be to add 1 teaspoon cinnamon extract and ½ teaspoon anise extract to ¼ cup of water.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until you have a mixture that becomes the size of small peas. Mix in the egg. Add the tea and incorporate well.
  4. Shape dough into 2 discs and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough until it is ¼ inch deep. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters.
  7. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges. Allow the cookies to cool and dust with cinnamon sugar.

Et cetera:  My daughter-in-law thinks these should be called pie crust cookies.  Our family loves pie crust.  Sometimes the pie filling is good, too.  Ha!  To my mother:  We miss you, Mama Moye! Thank you for all of the wonderful traditions you left behind to keep our bellies happy and our memories fond.