Anise Cookies

anise cookies

With cookie season coming up, I dug out my recipe for these traditional anise cookies.

Get into the Flavor of the Season

The smooth, sweet flavor of anise is a sensational addition to your holiday cookie platters. In Italy, you will find Pizzelle everywhere at Christmas time, but what if you don't have a pizzelle iron? Never fear. This anise cookie recipe will bring all the flavor of holiday cookies to your table without having to hunt down a pizzelle iron.

These cookies rise very nicely, giving you a very round top cookie. I like to add a frosting to the anise cookie by using one of the three extracts used in the recipe. This recipe needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour, so bear that in mind before mixing the dough. If you want, you can mix the dough the night before and then bake the cookies the next day. The frosting should be mixed as the cookies are baking.

Anise Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Melt the butter and shortening in a small saucepan.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the butter/shortening mixture cool.
  3. Mix the eggs, sugar, anise extract, lemon extract, and vanilla extract.
  4. Blend in the butter/shortening mixture.
  5. Add the all purpose flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  6. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Cover the bowl and place in your refrigerator for at least one hour.
  8. As your dough chills, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Drop the dough onto your prepared cookie sheets in tablespoon size dollops.
  10. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until done.

Frosting Ingredients

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon of one of above extracts (I like to use the anise extract but you can use lemon or vanilla if you like)
  • Sprinkles or nonpareils

Frosting Instructions

  1. Mix the sugar, milk, and extract until smooth.
  2. Frost each cookie as it becomes cool.
  3. Top with sprinkles.

Tips and Hints

I like to color the cookies black to emphasize the licorice flavor of the anise. In particular, I like to use squid ink to color the cookies, which makes them nice and deeply black. But I have found that people who love these cookies tend to be put off after they find out that they are eating squid ink. So, I suggest that you use one of the newly available black food colorings to color your cookies. Or just do what I do and use the squid ink, but don't tell people about it.

For a more dramatic looking cookie, color the frosting black as well and use plain white nonpareils for a "stars at night" look to your cookie.

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Anise Cookies