Christmas Cookies D’Artagnan Style! Duck Fat Biscochitos

Duck fat is not only an indispensable cooking fat, it’s also excellent for baking. It can be substituted 1:1 for lard in any old fashioned recipe, you just need to keep it well-chilled while you work with it. Duck fat adds depth of flavor to baked goods, makes an especially tender pie crust, lofty Viennoiseries, and flaky cookies. Ariane’s father, Andre Daguin, made duck fat pepper biscuits in his chef days. He served them with chilled marinated peaches, the recipe of which is in his 1981 cookbook, Le Nouveau Cuisinier Gascon.

A holiday staple in the American Southwest, biscochitos are cookies made from lard and flavored with anise seed and orange zest. Since anise and orange are also common flavors in Southwest France, we thought we’d put our own spin on biscochitos by making them with duck fat. The cookies are delicious and quickly becoming a holiday favorite around the office. Give them a try!

Recipe after the jump…

Duck Fat Biscochitos
Makes about 3-4 dozen cookies depending on your cookie cutters

1 ½ cups sugar, divided use
1 ¼ cups D’Artagnan Duck Fat, chilled
1 egg
1 teaspoon good vanilla
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons anise seeds

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix 1 cup sugar and the chilled duck fat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg; mix to combine. Add vanilla, Grand Marnier, and zest; mix to combine.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually beat flour mixture into sugar mixture on low speed. Add anise seeds. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; chill in refrigerator overnight.

On a floured work surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into whatever shapes you like with a 2-inch floured cutter.

Using an off-set spatula, carefully move cookies to silpat or parchment lined sheet trays. The cookies will be VERY soft. Put sheet trays in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove sheet trays from the freezer, sprinkle cookies with remaining sugar.

Bake, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies should be set but not browned. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining batches, if necessary.

Duck fat biscochitos will keep in an airtight container for a week.

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