One of our Christmas cookie traditions is Anise Cookies. My husband has fond memories of his mother's anise cookies. While we do not have her original recipe which she had lost, and we do not have her with us any longer, we have found a comparable recipe that we have used for over 10 years.
From Sunset Cookies--Step-by-Step Techniques (1985)
The secret of these cookies' flavor is anise sugar: plain granulated sugar that has been mixed with anise seeds, then allowed to stand for a day. When you make the cookies, you can add the seeds to the dough along iwth the sugar, or sift them out first for a subtler flavor. (We always use extra anise than is required and keep the seeds in for a stronger flavor and never use substitutes like margarine or artificial sweeteners.)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons anise seeds
- 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons brandy or 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and 1/2 cup of the anise sugar until creamy. Beat in egg and brandy (or the lemon juice and water). In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; gradually add to the butter mixture, blending thoroughly. Gather dough into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour) or for up to 3 days.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured board to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut out with cookie cutters (about 2 1/2 inces in diameter) and place 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Sift and discard seeds from remaining 1/4 cup anise sugar (if you have not already done so) sprinkle sugar evenly over cookies.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes or until gold brown. Transfer to racks and let cool. Store airtight. Makes about 5 dozen.
My husband and I have been cooking together for over 28 years now. I was not a cook when I got married; hubby was a gourmet chef. I have learned so much from him over the years. I have eventually bested him at pie doughs and home-baked bread. We bake bread from scratch almost daily in our home, so putting together recipes from scratch is no big deal here. Not many foods that we make come prepacked in a box either frozen or on a shelf, or in a tube in the dairy section. After making food from scratch for so many years, prepackaged food has a funny (or a chemical) taste to us. When I post recipes, you won't find the 'easy' recipes that other blogs post.