These old fashioned yet very tasty cookies are so perfect on a cold winter’s day; they are not too sweet and the anise-orange flavors combination goes great with warm drinks.
The dough is easy to prepare and can be either rolled and cut, or shaped in a variety of ways, as shown here, or in any other way you prefer.
The cookies can keep, in an airtight container, for about 2 weeks, and they make a great holiday gift. So don’t hesitate to prepare the seemingly large batch, as they will disappear quickly…
Makes: 35 cut square/diamond shapes + 22 hand shaped
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 15 minutes
Baking time: flat cut: 15 minutes; hand shaped: 20-25 minutes
1 stick (115 grams) butter, soft
½ cup sugar (and up to 1 cup)
3 XL eggs
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 heaped tsp anise seeds
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1. Mix the butter and sugar in a mixer bowl fitted with the mixing hook, on medium-high speed. Add the eggs and mix for 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides once or twice. Add the orange juice and zest and mix again.
2. Add the anise seeds, the flour, baking powder and salt and mix on medium-low speed, scraping the sides a few times. Don’t over mix.
3. Transfer to a work space and divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes. Work with one part of dough at a time, and keep the rest in the fridge until ready to use.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper.
5. For the hand shaped cookies: take a piece of dough about the size of a ping-pong ball. Roll it and form shapes according to your liking. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. The cookies will only brown lightly on top, so gently lift one and check the bottom side. Transfer to a cookie rack and cool to room temperature.
6. For the cut cookies: on a lightly floured work space, roll the dough to a ¼ inch (0.6cm) thickness. Cut into shapes with a sharp knife, or with cookie cutters. Place in the pan and prick with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes. The cookies will only brown lightly on top, so gently lift one and check the bottom side. Transfer to a cookie rack and cool to room temperature.