Italian Anisette Cookies for Christmas

anise cookies

Sweet childhood memories seem to come up often when people see these Italian Anisette cookies on a platter at Christmas. These cookies are inspired by my mother in law who made them every year for her family. Just the scent of them baking brings back warm memories.

baking cookies

Anisette cookies have a soft interior with a warm licorice-like flavor of anise. You can form the dough into balls, braided knots and even rings. The shiny frosting can also be flavored with a little anise and then sprinkled with your favorite nonpareils. You can definitely have fun with all the different holiday sprinkles that are available this time of year to make them look very festive.

frosting cookies

These cookies will stay light in color when baked but have a nice golden brown bottom with some characteristic cracks on top.

anisette cookiesanise cookies

This recipe is adapted from the Cooking with Nonna website, sadly none of my husbands family had a complete recipe of their moms cookies but I knew this would be as close to hers as any, and it was.

I doubled the recipe because you’ll want to make a bunch like I did and I changed up the way the cookie gets mixed because it was one less step for my lazy self, and I’m happy to say it all worked out!

xmas cookies

Placed on a pretty platter these anisette cookies scream Christmas!

christmas cookies

They’re simple to make and the perfect addition to your holiday cookie trays.

Christmas cookies

Grab a cup of coffee, tea or espresso and enjoy this Italian cookie classic this holiday season, you still have plenty of time to make them!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Italian Anisette Cookies for Christmas
 
Adapted from The Cooking with Nonna website.
Author:
Ingredients
  • COOKIE DOUGH
  • 5 cups all purpose flour, un-bleached
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons anise extract
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • ICING
  • 3 cups, confectioner's sugar
  • 6 tablespoons half and half or cream, adjusting if you need a little more or less. Icing should have a nice flow when stirring it with a little thickness but not runny
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract ( or if you prefer another extract like lemon, almond or orange)
  • nonpareils for decorating
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper onto rimmed baking sheets.
  2. In a separate bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until incorporated.
  3. In a large mixing bowl with your electric hand or stand mixer (preferably a stand mixer with paddle) add the softened butter and confectioners sugar, beat on medium speed until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time along with the extracts, beating until all is incorporated.
  5. Lower the speed and add in all your dry ingredients a cup at a time, dough ball will form and pull away from side, the dough will be sticky.
  6. Form your balls either from a rounded teaspoon or a small cookie scoop which I used. Remember you can roll your dough and form them into a knot or a ring if you like as well.
  7. Keep them 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 12 minutes total, bottoms will be golden and tops still pale with some cracks.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. MAKING THE ICING
  10. Stir together in a bowl the confectioners sugar, extract and half and half.
  11. Dip or brush the tops of the cookies into the icing then immediately add your sprinkles ( over a bowl so they don't fly all over your kitchen).
  12. Let the icing dry completely on a rack before you store the cookies away.
  13. NOTE;
  14. You can bake these ahead of time and freeze if you don't frost them, I would recommend frosting them just a day or two ahead before you'll be serving them, otherwise the frosting won't look as nice and fresh.

 

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Italian Anise Cookies for Easter and Beyond

anise cookies

Spring is officially here finally, and Easter is quickly approaching, and I can’t think of a better cookie to grace your dessert table than these pretty pastel glazed Italian anise cookies.

 

These cookies are classic, traditional and perfect for any special celebration and just the mere scent of them bring back fond memories of old. Italian anise cookies have played center stage at many weddings, showers, communions, graduations and of course all the major holidays.

 

What I love about these cookies is that you can change up the frosting and sprinkles to fit whatever the occasion is, so with Easter coming up I thought frosting them with some pretty pastel colors would be fun and just looking at them scream “spring” to me.anise cookies

 

Let’s talk about anise and the flavor of anise, if you haven’t tried it you’re missing out. It’s described as being warm, a little spicy and very aromatic with just a mild hint of licorice. Anise is used widely in making pastries and baked goods and it’s the essential ingredient in these cookies where you taste it inside as well as in the frosting.

 

The dough is very similar to my Anginetti Lemon Knots with a slight variation, some recipes add milk, some do not, some are made with shortening, some butter, but basically they turn out very similar. The end result will yield a soft, crumbly, light cookie that takes on the flavors of the extracts you choose, in this case it’s anise but if you prefer, lemon, almond and orange work wonderfully as well.

 

frosting cookies

 

This is the first time I mixed up different colored frostings and I’m so glad I did because they look so festive and they resemble little colored Easter eggs.anise cookies

 

The dough can be formed into balls like I did here or tied into knots and even formed into rings, either way don’t get nervous if you see some characteristic cracks on top.anise cookies

 

Don’t you think they’re the perfect addition to your Easter table? But think ahead to summer parties, baby and wedding showers, birthdays and BBQ’s, you can’t go wrong with a platter of these pretty cookies on your table.anise cookiesanise cookies

 

I did a search on the internet to find a recipe that was as close to the one made by my beloved mother-in-law who made them often for her family because sadly none of her children have a complete recipe of hers. The recipe I chose was the Anise Cookies on the Cooking with Nonna website which is Rossella Rago’s actual Nonna’s recipe, so I knew it would be a good one, and it did not disappoint.

 

I did however double the recipe and I changed up the way the cookie gets mixed, just the procedure in doing it, so that’s what I’ll be posting, it seemed easier for me with one less step for my lazy self, and they turned out absolutely fine.anise cookies

Keep this recipe tucked away for all your special occasions and make sweet memories of your own.

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

Italian Anise Cookies for Easter and Beyond
 
Adapted from The Cooking with Nonna website, Anise Cookies
Author:
Ingredients
  • COOKIE DOUGH
  • 5 cups all purpose flour, un-bleached
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons anise extract
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • ICING
  • 3 cups, confectioner's sugar
  • 6 tablespoons half and half or cream, adjusting if you need a little more or less. Icing should have a nice flow when stirring it with a little thickness but not runny
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract ( or if you prefer another extract like lemon, almond or orange)
  • 1 drop of any food coloring to make your pastel colors
  • non-pariels and sprinkles to decorate
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper onto rimmed baking sheets.
  2. In a separate bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until incorporated.
  3. In a large mixing bowl with your electric hand or stand mixer (preferably a stand mixer with paddle) add the softened butter and confectioners sugar, beat on medium speed until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time along with the extracts, beating until all is incorporated.
  5. Lower the speed and add in all your dry ingredients a cup at a time, dough ball will form and pull away from side, the dough will be sticky.
  6. Form your balls either from a rounded teaspoon or a small cookie scoop which I used. Remember you can roll your dough and form them into a knot or a ring if you like as well.
  7. Keep them 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 12 minutes total, bottoms will be golden and tops still pale with some cracks.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. MAKING THE ICING
  10. Stir together in a small bowl the confectioners sugar, extract, half and half and food coloring if you are using it. Depending on how many cookies you're making you could do a large batch of white frosting then divide and separate some into smaller bowls so you can add your food coloring to each.
  11. Dip or brush the tops of the cookies into the icing then immediately add your sprinkles ( over a bowl so they don't fly all over your kitchen).
  12. Let the icing dry completely on a rack before you store them away.
  13. NOTE;
  14. You can bake these ahead of time and freeze if you don't frost them, I would recommend frosting them just a day or two ahead before you'll be serving them, otherwise the frosting won't look as nice and fresh.
  15. I made 68 cookies from this batch.

 

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