You see, the adults in this family love the black licorice flavor of anise. I’m British so naturally I love it, and my husband and father in law are both Italian. However, my children don’t care for it, so the only change I made to this recipe I found at Bunny’s Warm Oven was to replace the anise extract with half almond and half vanilla. They came out wonderful AND my father in law said they were just like what his Grandmother used to make (except the anise substitutions).
Italian Anisette Cookies
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3 c. all-purpose flour
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. anise extract (can use vanilla or lemon extract instead)
Amanda’s notes: I used 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. almond extract
2 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2-4 Tbsp. milk
Melt butter and shortening together. Add the sugar; mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the anise extract. Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture gradually. If the dough is too sticky to roll in the palm of your hand, add flour until firmer, but it should be very soft. Roll dough in small balls (these tend to really puff up with all the baking powder in them!) and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake @ 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes (the bottom should be lightly browned but the tops should remain light). Remove cookies to wire rack and cool completely before glazing.
Amanda’s notes: Next time I will be more careful with the flour, I think I added a bit too much. The tops of my cookies cracked. I also used my cookie scoop and filled it half way, which seemed to work pretty well.
Mix milk GRADUALLY into confectioners’ sugar to make a thick glaze… make sure to keep it on the thick side. Dip top of each cookie into glaze. Sprinkle with colored jimmies or nonpareils while glaze is still wet. I usually dip 10-12 cookies, return them to the wire rack (with wax paper under the racks to aid in clean up!) and then sprinkle those cookies before starting to dip more.
Amanda’s notes: I dipped and sprinkled 5 at a time, that seemed to be the magic number before the glaze would start to harden.
Makes a lot of cookies, depending on how large you roll them. I usually roll the dough into 3/4″ balls-maybe a little bit smaller-I get about 100 cookies from one batch when I roll them this size.
Amanda’s notes: I made mine a little bigger and got 75 out of my dough.