sparkly anise squares

today’s cookie is a perfect addition for the holiday cookie platter. but beware: there are people who just loathe the scent or taste of anise, so be mighty careful who you share this with! yes, i’ll admit, it’s a strong flavor, but in many italian households, the flavor and scent of anisette liquor is as welcome as the fresh smell of espresso brewing or the sunday gravy bubbling away on the stovetop.

these anise squares go great with a nice, strong cup of espresso. they also work well as an accompaniment to a bowl of coffee ice cream. or any flavor of ice cream, for that matter.

they are easy to make, a cinch to bake, and will fly out of the cookie jar. i cut these out with a wavy square cookie cutter, but don’t hesitate to use whatever cookie cutter you have on hand. or just roll and cut by hand. they’ll taste just as good! i promise!

 

sparkly anise squares

ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons anise extract (or 3/4 teaspoon anise oil)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

sparkly sugar for decorating

 

instructions:

1. combine butter, sugar, egg, anise and vanilla extracts in a large mixing bowl.

2. beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy. be sure to scrape the bowl down often.

3. divide dough in half, shaping each into a ball, then flatten to about 1/2″. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours, or overnight.)

4. preheat oven to 375 degrees. add parchment paper to cookie sheet.

5. roll out dough on lightly floured surface to approximately 1/8″ thickness. use your cookie cutter to cut out desired shape.

6. place cut cookie shape onto your prepared pan. sprinkle liberally with decorative sugar, pressing the sugar into the cookie dough so it will be sure to stick.

7. bake for approximately 6-7 minutes, until cookies are set and edges are lightly browned.

8. remove from oven, and let cookie sheet cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. remove cookies directly to wire rack. store in covered container.

9. enjoy!!!

<yield: 58 cookies>

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