Welcome to our kitchen, where today we’re diving into the delicious world of Italian anise cookies! If you’ve ever wandered the streets of Italy, you may have stumbled upon these delightful treats adorning the windows of local bakeries, enticing passersby with their sweet aroma and delicate flavor. But fear not, you don’t need a plane ticket to enjoy these little bites of Italian bliss—we’re bringing the taste of Italy right to your home with this simple and scrumptious recipe.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (for glaze)
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk (for glaze)
  • Sprinkles or nonpareils (optional, for decoration)

Let’s Get Baking!

Step 1: Mix Dry Ingredients: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Step 2: Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes with a hand mixer or stand mixer.

Step 3: Add Eggs and Extracts: Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Then, mix in the anise extract and vanilla extract until evenly distributed.

Step 4: Alternate Dry Ingredients and Milk: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Then, pour in the milk and continue mixing until a smooth dough forms.

Step 5: Shape and Bake: Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, portion out the dough and roll it into balls. Place the balls onto a lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.

Step 6: Bake and Cool: Pop the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 7: Glaze and Decorate: Once the cookies are cool, prepare the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze, allowing any excess to drip off. If desired, sprinkle the glazed cookies with colorful sprinkles or nonpareils for a festive touch.

Step 8: Enjoy! Allow the glaze to set for about 30 minutes before serving, then grab a cookie (or two) and savor the sweet taste of Italy right in your own home. Buon appetito!

Tips and Tricks:

  • If you’re not a fan of anise flavor, you can easily swap it out for almond extract or another favorite flavoring.
  • For a softer texture, don’t overbake the cookies—take them out of the oven when they’re just starting to turn golden brown around the edges.
  • These cookies are best enjoyed fresh, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

With their tender texture, subtle sweetness, and distinctive anise flavor, Italian anise cookies are a delightful addition to any cookie jar. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply craving a taste of Italy, these little bites of sweetness are sure to bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to experience the joy of baking—and savoring—these delicious Italian treats. Mangia!