Thursday, December 6, 2012

AUNT ANN’S ITALIAN ANISE COOKIES

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My Sicilian hubby’s Aunt Ann always brought these cookies when she visited us in New Jersey, and we all loved them.  She made them sometimes with just vanilla flavoring, and sometimes with anise flavoring.   Though they're good both ways, I make them with anise flavoring.  (If you can't  find, or don't want to buy, anise oil, then anise extract will work.  Anise extract is not as strong as anise oil, so you will have to use more of it to get the anise flavor.  How much more?  Since I don’t use anise extract, I can’t answer that.  Try 1/2 tsp. and taste the dough.  Add more if you can’t taste the anise.  The anise seeds add flavor also, so if you leave them out, then increase the amount of anise oil or extract slightly.  Don’t worry about the seeds being crunchy – amazingly, they dissolve on baking.)

These cookies are light and cakey in texture, something I usually don’t appreciate in a cookie, but these are different.  The anise flavor and the sweet frosting plus the little crunch from the nonpareils all combine to make a pleasant tasting experience. 

Aunt Ann’s Italian Anise Cookies
Rating:  9 out of 10

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INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup (5-1/3 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
big pinch salt
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. anise oil
1/2 tsp. crushed anise seeds
1-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Anise Glaze (Recipe below) 

Heat oven to 350F.  Line baking sheets with parchment.  In large bowl, cream butter, sugar and salt on medium-high speed till light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing just till incorporated.  With last egg, add vanilla, lemon juice, anise oil and anise seeds.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour and baking powder.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto prepared pans.  Bake about 9 minutes, or till just set and barely beginning to brown on underside.  Do not overbake or cookies will be dry.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.  When cool, dip tops of cookies in anise glaze and sprinkle with colored nonpareils.  Yield:  26-30 cookies

ANISE GLAZE:
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp. milk or cream
1/8 tsp. anise oil
1/8 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Mix ingredients in small microwaveable  bowl.  Heat in microwave on high in increments of 10 seconds.  When glaze is runny, dip tops of cookies in glaze, then place flat-side down on wire rack.  (Place rack over a cookie sheet or waxed paper to catch drippings.)  Sprinkle with colored nonpareils. 

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Today’s post is for week 11 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda Thompson.  Her blog is Meal Planning Magic

Be sure and check out all of the fabulous treats the other participants came up with this week.  And, if you would like to join the hop and add your own Christmas treat recipes, just contact Brenda for details. 


1 comment:

bakewelljunction said...

Judy - Family recipes are the best. My husband's family has a similar cookie they call anginnetti.
Annamaria