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