anise drops

anise drop cookies

I decided to venture out of my comfort zone this week. I was initially leaning towards a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie, but I can too easily see myself falling into the habit of baking nothing but variations on the types of cookies I’m personally drawn to. This blog is supposed to be about trying new recipes, including those that I might not otherwise choose if I were just baking for myself.

I’ve had anise cookies before, so this isn’t a complete departure from the familiar. Anise is a flavour very similar to licorice (or liquorice, if you prefer). I’m not a big fan of black licorice – I don’t hate it, but I won’t go out of my way for it. Anise has a more delicate flavour. I like it. People who really hate licorice might not like these cookies though. 

anise drop cookies

There is no butter in this recipe. The dough gets its structure from 3 eggs that are whipped for several minutes before the other ingredients are added. It ends up like a really fluffy cake batter that holds its shape somewhat. When baked, straight from the oven, the cookies are crisp and wafer-like on the outside and chewy on the inside. But I found that they softened after just a few hours. Granted, the humidity is always really high here in Vancouver, so that may have something to do with it. If anyone else tries this recipe, please let me know whether they stayed crispy for you or not.

My coworkers, however, don’t know that they’re supposed to be crisp, and I’m not hearing any complaints. These aren’t as popular as other cookies I’ve made – I think a combination of people who just don’t like licorice and a slight fear of something unfamiliar – but the level in the cookie jar is steadily going down.

anise drop cookies

In stark contrast with last week, this is such a pretty cookie. So delicate. Like a fluffy little white cloud.

Will I make this cookie again? Not for myself, no. But perhaps for certain occasions – they’d probably be really nice for an afternoon tea. Especially if I have the time to bake them just before so they retain their crispness. And I can think of at least one friend who would happily eat the entire batch by himself. So they might make a reappearance some day.

Update: After being on offer for a couple days, I can definitely say these cookies are not the crowd pleasers that many of the other recipes I’ve made have been. However, they have a definite following. There’s a core group of people who keep returning for more. Also, they got some of their crispness back the 2nd day.

anise drop cookies

anise drops

<h2>anise drops</h2>

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies. The recipe says it makes about 4 dozen, but I ended up with about 80 tiny cookies.

ingredients

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1-1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon anise extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat for another 3 minutes. Add anise extract.

Turn mixer down to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

At this point, the recipe said to put the batter into a pastry bag with a plain 1/2" tip and pipe out 1-1/4 inch rounds. I didn't have any large bags, so I just used my smallest cookie scoop instead. These cookies don't spread a lot, so it's safe to just leave about 1" between. Bake for about 8-9 minutes until the tops begin to crack, rotating the pan halfway. The cookies will stay very pale. Allow to cool on a wire rack before removing from the baking sheet.

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Comments: 3

  1. Bette Ryan December 7, 2013 at 9:19 am Reply

    I am looking for an old Anise cookie recipe. Before the cookies are baked, they are left out overnight, and then baked. These cookies are delicate but firm, with a slight anise flavoring. The recipe calls for anise seed, I have used extract with the same result. If anyone has this recipe PLEASE send it to me. Thank you. Merry Christmas

  2. Meg November 8, 2014 at 12:45 pm Reply

    Bette – I just recently stumbled upon a recipe similar to what you are describing. The recipe is from Joy of Cooking (1975 version). I haven’t made it yet but I’m planning on making it for Christmas this year. Enjoy!

    Anise or Butterless Drop Cookies

    Yields about 96 1-inch cookies

    “These professional-looking self-glazing cookies with the charming puffed tops are best made in cool weather. They do not turn out well if humidity is over 50%.”

    3 eggs
    1 cup sifted sugar
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    2 cups all-purpose sugar
    1 tsp double-acting baking powder
    1 1/2 tablespoon crushed anise seed

    Beat eggs until light. Add sugar gradually. Beat at least 3-5 minutes on medium speed with an electric beater, longer if beating by hand, then add vanilla. Sift the flour before measuring, then resift with baking powder. Add the anise seed. Add flour ingredients to egg mixture and beat the batter another 5 minutes. Drop 1/2 teaspoon at a time, well apart, on a cookie sheet lined with foil. The dough should flatten to a 1-inch round but should not spread more. If it does, add a little more flour. Let the drops dry at room temperature 18 hours. Bake the cakes in a preheated 325 F oven until they begin to color, about 12 minutes. When done, they will have a puffed meringuelike top on a soft cookie base.

    • laurel @ wannacomewith November 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm Reply

      Thank you for posting this! I’m emailing it to her in case she doesn’t have comment notification turned on. ♥

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