The chile or chili pepper is a kind of Capsicum, technically a berry on a nightshade plant that's widely used as a seasoning. Chiles generally have a sharp, spicy taste, though some are mild enough to be eaten plain and others are so hot that a single pepper will make a whole dish taste spicy. Ripe chiles may be green, red, or yellowish and usually have a smooth, shiny skin that covers a thin wall of flesh. Inside, the pepper is mostly hollow with a core of small, flat white seeds. Most are pointed at one end and wider toward the stem, though shape and length can vary a lot. Chiles spice a wide variety of sauces, and can be added to almost any savory dish. They are not usually added to sweets, though some high-end chocolate makers produce chile-spiced dark chocolate bars.
Though chiles probably originated in Peru or Bolivia, they have been known and used in New Mexico for at least 400 years. Today, New Mexico produces close to two thirds of American chiles, and the peppers are standard ingredients in many New Mexican foods such as sauces for tortilla chips or enchiladas. The town of Hatch, New Mexico, nicknamed the "Chile Capital of the World," hosts a chile festival every Labor Day Weekend.
Bizcochitos are light, crispy shortbread cookies, usually diamond-shaped or round, and flavored with anise and cinnamon. Traditional recipes vary from region to region, and it's common for the family recipe for bizcochitos to be handed down over generations. Most recipes call for flour, lard, sugar, eggs, red wine, and spices to be mixed, rolled, cut, and baked to a light brown. Most bakers consider lard the key to a true, light-textured bizcochito. Others prefer butter for flavor. Sherry or brandy is sometimes substituted for the wine. Bizcochitos can be served as breakfast, dessert, or an accompaniment to coffee.
Bizcochitos are a New Mexican melting-pot invention, developed over years by European settlers of different backgrounds, indigenous food traditions, and later influenced by newer immigrant communities. New Mexico was the first U.S. state to adopt a cookie as an emblem, in part to encourage home baking. It has been a traditional part of celebrations including Christmas, baptisms, and weddings in the area since well before New Mexico became a state.