Everyone knows a cookie like this: tender, lightly flavored, and absolutely delicious, the type of thing you know someone’s grandma or favorite aunt always made around Christmas. Such are these anise twists, my spin on the traditional anise love knot, because I just couldn’t seem to make knots. There are several recipes for this type of cookie out there, and the recipe below is a hybrid of those.
I will absolutely, positively make these cookies again, though probably in smaller sizes and perhaps just as round cookies next time; I might also dial back the anise flavoring slightly, because they left me with a stronger aftertaste than I’d expected. Mike loved them, especially how only one side of the cookie is dipped in the icing; he has requested an almond version dipped in chocolate that could accompany coffee, so stay tuned.
For the cookies
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon anise extract
For the icing
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- Multicolored nonpareils
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Sift together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar until light in color, about 3 minutes. Add melted butter and anise and stir to combine. With the mixer running on low, add flour about 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until completely combined.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in additional 2 tablespoons flour. Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, scoop balls of dough and roll into 8-inch ropes. Twist together and place on baking sheets.
Bake for 15 minutes, until bottoms are just golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make icing, stir together melted butter, powdered sugar, anise, and enough milk to make a dipping consistency. Carefully dip the top of one end of each cookie into the icing (or use a spoon to pour over; these cookies are incredibly delicate and a few of mine broke in the dipping process). Sprinkle with nonpareils. Allow to set before storing; makes 20.