Italian Anise Cookies

IMG_2129 (575x344)My mother was an excellent cook but never baked.  Before I was old enough to start baking myself, desserts for Easter and Christmas meant a trip to the Italian bakery—ricotta pie, cannoli, and a multitude of Italian cookies!

I never tasted a homemade chocolate chip cookie growing up.  That was corrected when I took baking in 7th grade—but that’s another story!  As a kid, my favorite cookies were Italian sesame seed cookies, twice-baked Italian biscotti (almond or anise), and my beloved Italian anise cookies with a confectioners’ sugar glaze.

Italian anise cookies are pretty basic—flour, sugar, eggs, oil and milk—but it is the anise extract that elevates them to something pretty special.  For those of you who aren’t Italian and familiar with anise flavoring, it is akin to licorice.  If you’re as big a fan of anise as I am and haven’t ever made these cookies, what are you waiting for?

Buona Pasqua a tutti!

One year ago:  Hostess Cupcake Copycat

Two years ago:  A Very Special Retirement Party

Three years ago:  Lemon Chicken with Rosemary and Cannellini

Four years ago:  Jammers

Italian Anise Cookies

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Ingredients for the Cookies

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. anise extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for the Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 to 3 tbl. milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. anise extract (Taste test glaze to get your preferred level of anise—you could also switch to vanilla extract if you like the cookies but want to tamp down on the anise flavoring.)

Ingredient for Topping

  • Colored sprinkles

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350o F and line 2 to 3 baking sheets with parchment.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, extract and baking powder.

Add the vegetable oil and milk, then the flour, one cup at a time, until well combined.

Use a standard 1″ cookie scoop to make walnut-sized mounds of dough.  I sprayed my cookie scoop with Pam to make release of the dough easier.  Arrange the balls of dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.  I got 39 cookies using my cookie scoop

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bottoms of the cookies are a light golden brown.  The tops will still be pale.

IMG_2113 (575x389)Remove from the oven; then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl until just smooth.  You want it somewhat runny.  If you prefer a thicker glaze, use less milk.

Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the glaze; then return to the wire rack, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides of the cookie.  Top with sprinkles.

IMG_2115 (575x371)IMG_2134 (575x350)Source:   A recipe from The Apron Archives

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