Baker’s Solstice Countdown: December 2: Anise Cookies

Welcome back to my Baker’s Solstice Countdown. Today’s recipe is Anise Cookies. They’re another family favorite, and a labor of love because they take 2 days to make, and the recipe makes a lot of cookies. This is another recipe from my mother-in-law, that I divided in half because the full recipe makes about 140 cookies. So now it only makes 5-6 dozen. 😂 Trust me when I say I still have to hide some to make them last the whole season. The anise flavor is intense, but the sugar glaze balances that intensity, making these cookies tough to resist. They are also tough to make secretly, because the aroma of the anise oil lingers for hours after the dough is made. My family is still pleasantly surprised to smell anise in the kitchen, and it’s one of the signs that I have finally gotten into the holiday mood.

Anise Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon anise oil (I order mine online from Olive Nation. Be sure to use oil, not extract, for best flavor.)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon ground anise seeds or ground star anise (I substituted ground star anise once because it was what I had, and now I use that every time. Either one works.)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup beaten eggs (about 1 1/2 eggs, beat 2 eggs and save the leftovers for breakfast)
Glaze: 1/2 pound confectioners sugar, 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the honey, granulated sugar, butter, and 6 tablespoons heavy cream until melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat to cool. When cool, stir in the anise oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, ground anise seeds or star anise, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Stir in the honey mixture and eggs until thoroughly mixed and smooth. (I’ve never used a mixer for this, but if you do, use a medium low speed.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Scoop 1-inch pieces of dough with a spoon and roll into balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart, lightly pressing down each ball to flatten slightly.
  5. Bake at 350 deg F for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove gently from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack to cool completely (they will be a bit soft, but will crisp up as they cool).
  6. Put the cookies in a large rimmed cookie sheet. Mix the confectioners sugar and heavy cream in a medium bowl until very smooth with a pouring consistency. Pour over the cookies, mix with your hands, place on wax paper to dry overnight.

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