All who know me well understand that I prefer dessert to dinner. I grew up in New Mexico, sharing a small house with six siblings and parents who, on the meager salaries of teachers, struggled to make our meals interesting, filling, and yummy. Sweets were a luxury, except in our school lunches. Almost all our food was homemade and, in my opinion, tastier for it. If you wanted a cookie or fudge, you made it from scratch. The closest we came to “store bought” product was a Betty Crocker cake mix, which still required an egg and some milk. Even though powdered milk and eggs were available for use in such products, it was important to Betty that her customers believe they were still baking.

Here I share three of our favorite sweets:


Biscochitos are a New Mexican version of a Mexican wedding cookie — only better. Generally, these delights were prepared during the Christmas holidays, but visiting New Mexico anytime you will find them in many authentic New Mexican restaurants.


3 cups of lard (animal fat) or you can substitute Crisco
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. anise
Shot of red wine or brandy
Cinnamon and sugar mixture

Cream sugar and lard until smooth. Add eggs and anise and cream again. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and then add to the first mixture. Add wine (or brandy) and enough water to hold mixture together. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and sprinkle the dough with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Cut with fun cookie cutters and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake until light brown in 350 degree oven. Excellent with homemade egg nog.


According to my brother, Larry, this was the most disgusting cake ever made. Not because he tried it, but simply by virtue of the fact that it contained mayonnaise. As weird as it sounds, this is an incredibly moist and creamy cake. Trust me, you will never know that it contains mayo by the taste. Only those who make it know.


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cups flour
2+ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix the sugar, water and mayonnaise. Mix all the dry ingredients and slowly add to the first mixture. Add the vanilla. Mix well and pour into a flat rectangular glass baking dish that has been greased with butter and then floured to keep from the mixture from sticking — or line the bottom of the dish with waxed paper and grease the paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until the center springs. Let it cool and then frost with your favorite butter cream icing. Then call me to come over.


This recipe came from my mother who shared this treat with eight siblings growing up in northern New Mexico. If you are as adventurous as her pioneer family, you won’t be shy about trying this out.


2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups white syrup
1/2 cup water

Boil until mixture forms a 4-inch thread (test using a spoon)

2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
Pecan pieces to taste

Beat the egg whites slightly. Pour syrup over them — must be beating all the time until stiff. Add the nuts. Drop teaspoons on waxed paper or you can pour into a pan and cut when cool. Call me.

by Jane Hruska

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