Anisette "S" Cookies
I have so many memories of Christmas spent in upstate New York. We'd go every year as kids to visit my cousin, Soupbelly and her brother and spend Christmas as one big family, which is always more fun! One thing in particular that we both enjoyed were the cookies their neighbor would bring over every year on Christmas eve. They were an assortment of cookies from Spritz, to sugar cookies to classic Italian favorites... including anisette. I always loved the anisette the best, though my husband can't understand it. I guess anise is a bit of an acquired taste, and although I hate licorice candy, I can't get enough of these Anisette "S" Cookies!
I think most people make these are drop cookies, which I'm sure would make it easier, but I thoroughly enjoy them more in these cute S shapes. They also remind me of the Stella Doro cookies you buy at the supermarket, which were also a special treat. It takes a bit more work, but cookies are a labor of love right? Plus any cookie with frosting is a big plus in my book.
I found these cookies on the Wishes and Dishes blog and they're fabulous. They bake up puffed, soft and totally irresistible. The recipe is simple and is a bit more like a cake recipe than a cookie recipe. The butter and sugar get creamed together, then come a load of eggs and the anise extract. And finally the flour and milk get mixed in, alternating the two as you go. The dough is soft and sticky, so In order to get it shapeable, you need to knead it (this concept was new to me!) until it firmed up and turned tacky rather than sticky.
The dough gets portioned out to about ping pong ball sized portions, rolled into snakes and shaped into the "S". Bake these for 9 minutes and watch them puff up! The cookies will be very light in color on top but golden brown on the bottom.
Dip these in frosting and sprinkle on the...sprinkles! My kids favorite part was decorating these. and the best part is that there's no way to mess up the decorations on these. So pile on the frosting and sprinkles! Because you know you're kids will... and enjoy these with a cup of coffee or glass of milk!
Anisette "S" Cookies
*adapted slightly from Wishes and Dishes
Yields: 4 dozen cookies
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 6 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tsp anise extract
- 1/2 cup milk
For the Frosting:
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 lb powdered sugar
- 6 tbsp milk
- Sprinkles for decorating
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line sheet trays with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat until well combined, then add in the anise extract.
On the lowest speed, add in the milk and flour mixture, alternating flour and milk as you go. Once mixed, the dough will be a bit sticky. Turn it out onto a well floured board, add a bit more flour on top and knead until the dough becomes a bit firm and less sticky. I kneaded it about 25- 30 times. Add more flour as you knead if it is still sticky.
Break off ping pong sized balls of dough and roll into 5-6 uncle logs. Shape into "S" shapes, making sure to round out the top and the tail to help keep its shape once baked. (These tend to puff up quite a bit, so they tend to unfurl while baking) Transfer the shaped dough onto the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack and make the frosting. Whisk together the powdered sugar with the melted butter and milk until smooth. The original recipe said to spoon on the frosting, but I found that it looked a bit messy, so I gently dipped each cookie into the frosting, making sure it was evenly coated and placed on a wire rack to get the excess drip off. Top with sprinkles while it's still wet, then allow to set for about an hour.