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Rendering your own lard is what really makes these anise-flavored Mexican sugar cookies stand out, but you can use vegetable shortening in a pinch. Martha made this recipe on "Martha Bakes" episode 711.

  • Yield: Makes 4 dozen

Photography: Yossy Arefi

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2001


  • 1 cup sugar, plus 3/4 cup for sprinkling
  • 1 1/4 cups Stove Top-Rendered Lard or vegetable shortening
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix 1 cup sugar and the lard on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg; beat to combine. Add vanilla, Grand Marnier, and zest; beat to combine.

  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually beat flour mixture into sugar mixture on low speed. Beat in anise seeds. On medium, gradually add 2 tablespoons water or more to form a ball. Divide dough in half; shape into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic; chill 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Combine cinnamon and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.

  4. On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into moons, stars, or shapes you like with a 2-inch cutter; lightly sift cinnamon-sugar over each shape. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, 10 to 12 minutes; cookies should be set but not brown. Transfer the cookies and parchment to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining batches.

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