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|Type||Pastry and cookies|
Bizcocho (Spanish pronunciation: [biθˈkotʃo] or [bisˈkotʃo]) is the name given in the Spanish-speaking world to a wide range of pastries, cakes or cookies. The exact product to which the word bizcocho is applied varies widely depending on the region and country. For instance, in Spain bizcocho is exclusively used to refer to sponge cake. In turn, in Uruguay, most buttery flaky pastry including croissants are termed bizcocho, whilst sponge cake is called bizcochuelo. In turn, in Chile, Dominican Republic or Bolivia bizcocho refers to a sweet dough (masa) baked with local ingredients, not dissimilar from the bizcocho from Spain. In Ecuador the dough of a bizcocho can either be sweet or salty. The US state New Mexico is unusual in using the diminutive form of the name, bizcochito, as the name for a locally developed and very popular cookie.
Types of bizcochos
Some of the most usual types of bizcochos are:
- Bizcochito: A cookie flavored with anise and cinnamon developed in the Spanish colonial province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, roughly corresponding to the US state New Mexico in the present day.
- Bizcocho de soletilla: is the name given in Spain to ladyfinger biscuits.
- Croasanes [kɾoaˈsanes] or Croissants: Croissants are called bizcocho in Uruguay. Sweet crosanes can be filled with chocolate, pastry cream, dulce de membrillo (a sweet quince paste), or dulce de leche, savoury with cheese, ham or salami.
- Galletas dulces [ɡaˈʎetaz ˈðulθes] or [ɡaˈʝetaz ˈðulses], a descendant of the pastry known as galleta, galleta de campaña or galleta con grasa. Galletas dulces have a layer of caramel and sugar on top and are known as bizcochos in Uruguay
- Margaritas: They are a variation of croissants found both in Uruguay and Argentina. The ends are joined together, leaving some space in the middle for a sweet filling (pastry cream, dulce de membrillo or dulce de leche). They have sugar on top of the pastry and the filling. Margaritas get their name from the flower they resemble (a daisy, known in Spanish as "margarita").
- Ojitos [oˈxitos]: A kind of round cookie with a space in the middle filled with dulce de membrillo, also from Uruguay.
- Pan con grasa, another kind of bizcocho found in Uruguay, is a type of bread, also known as the cañón.
- Polvorones [polβoˈɾones]: Another kind of cookie that can be plain, flavoured with cocoa, or made with half plain dough and half cocoa flavoued. Polvorones originated in Spain, but are called bizcochos in Uruguay.
- Sponge Cake: sponge cake is called bizcocho in Spain. It may be made with chocolate, lemon, yoghurt, etc.
- Vigilantes [bixiˈlantes]: Another sweet variation of croissants. They are long and thin, with sugar on top.
Bizcochos are one of the most intrinsic traditions of the Uruguayan culture. They are the inseparable "companions" of mate, coffee, café con leche or tea for breakfast or the merienda (afternoon tea.) They are also common in meetings with friends, especially those taking place in parks, squares, beaches or along the coastline in ramblas (an avenue bordering the coast with pedestrian areas on each side) such as the ones in Montevideo.
Bizcochos are sold not only at panaderías (bakeries), but also at specialized shops called bizcocherías.
Other uses for the name
In Colombia, bizcocho refers to a handsome older gentleman as well as to a tasty sweet cake.
In Mexico, bizcocho is commonly used as a synonym for pan dulce. It can also be used as a flirtatious compliment to a good looking woman or, less commonly, a handsome man ("Goodbye, bizcocho!"). In some parts, however, it is a very vulgar term, referring to a person's genitals (mainly female) and not used in polite company.