Italian anisette cookies have been the most prominent cookie in my life. At weddings, showers, holidays, you name it, they have been there. To me a cookie tray is not complete without the recognizable glazed topped cookie. The subtle anise flavor and sprinkled top create a perfect cookie for any tray. This is a modified version on my grandmother/great grandmother's recipe.
Full time: 3 1/2 hours (includes baking multiple batches and two cooling/rest times)
Makes 48 cookies
You will need:
4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp anise extract**
2 cup powdered sugar
2 - 3 tbsp milk
1 tsp anise extract*
Festive colored sprinkles
*For a more subtle flavor leave anise out of glaze.
**Anise can be substitute for vanilla if desired, this will allow the glaze to carry the anise flavor.
Let us begin:
Preheat oven to 350'.
In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, anise, and baking powder.
Add in vegetable oil and milk.
Add in 1 cup of flour, stirring until blended.
Add in remaining flour 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Scoop out 1 tbsp size balls of dough and roll them. (If needed lightly flour your hands to prevent sticking)
Place dough balls on baking sheet 1 1/2" apart from each other.
Bake in oven 9-11 minutes or until bottom of cookie begins to golden. Cookie will still appear white and pale.
Remove from oven and let cool on tray 1-2 minutes.
Move to wire rack to cool completely before continuing.
Once cookies are all cooled. Line a working surface with wax paper and place wire racks with cookies on top of the wax paper.
In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, extract, and 2 tbsp milk. Mix until smooth.
You want the mixture to be smooth but, not runny. It needs to be dip-able so use a test cookie if needed. If glaze is too thick add in a tiny bit of milk until smooth and dip-able.
Dip top of cookie into glaze and return to wire rack, allowing excess to drip down and off cookie.
Once cookies are dipped, sprinkle across cookies with festive colored sprinkles. (I actually do this twice, I always fear my glaze will start to dry, so I dip half the batch of cookies and sprinkle then finish.)
A family note about the cookies, my grandmother never glazed ahead if time. She would bake dinning room tables full of these, but only glaze what was being served. The glaze creates excess moisture and gets sticky after a few days. If baking these ahead of time, I recommend glazing them later on.