Merry Christmas everyone!
For the past five years I've had these cookies at my fiancé's family Christmas. It is an Italian tradition that has been in their family for years and they are truly fantastic.
This Christmas, as we will be at my family's place, I thought it would be lovely to make them. My family Christmases are usually very British: Christmas puddings, mince pies, etc.
These Italian cookies have a subtle yet soft anise flavor complimented by the sweetness of vanilla. They really do brighten up a Christmas or New Year dessert spread and are a perfect treat with coffee after a wonderful dinner. The cookies came out much bigger than I wanted them to be in my first batch. Unless you want them to be big cookies, make sure you roll them into little balls, no bigger than the size of a walnut.
I've made a huge batch of these for the holidays!
Italian Anise Cookies: (a family recipe)
(makes about 30 cookies)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour
- 3/4 Cup Butter or shortening
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1-3 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time and whisk.
Add the vanilla extract and anise extract.
Sift in the flour and baking powder.
Add a little milk at a time until you have a smooth dough.
Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place on a a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F for 12-15 minutes. Do not let them brown.
Ice the cookies by mixing powdered sugar and milk together until quite thick and add 1\2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon anise extract.
Drizzle over the cooled cookies and sprinkle with colored balls.