Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Italian Anise Cookies

I love anise cookies, outside of the chocolate chip (I live in Whitman, the home of the chocolate chip cookie, of course chocolate chip will be my favorite.) anise has to be my second favorite cookie of all time. I never knew how easy it was to make these cookies. I readily have these ingredients in my cabinets at any given time. Once you buy the anise extract you could make these cookies on a whim. Anise extract is not hard to find. It is available at your local grocery store usually with the spices. If you live in my neck of the woods go to Ocean State Job Lot. The price difference between OSJL and Stop and Shop, like $4! I bought anise extract and almond extract for the price of one anise extract at Stop and Shop. Granted it was pure anise for around $7 but you really wont tell the difference.

Italian Anise Cookies
For the cookies:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons anise extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 -3 tablespoons milk
For the icing:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon anise extract
food coloring (optional)
decorative candy sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

For cookies: cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add anise extract. Blend flour and baking powder. Start by adding about 1/3 of these dry ingredients to the butter/sugar in your mixer, then add 1 T. milk. Add another third of the flour and another 1 T. milk. Finally, mix in enough of the remaining flour until your dough is like a brownie batter (it should be softer than a drop cookie dough). Use a 1 T. cookie scooper to make simple round drop cookies - use wet fingers to pat any rough edges OR for an Easter-Egg look, roll 1 T. dough into an elongated ball. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes (they won't be brown but the insides will be soft and cake-like).

For icing: mix sugar, milk and extract to make a sugar glaze. Add food coloring if desired. Make sure the cookies are somewhat cool or the icing will just melt. Hold cookie in your hand and turn upside down so you can dip the top half in the glaze; turn over and immediately top with sprinkles so they will stick. Give the icing sometime to harden up before eating.