Italian Anise Cookies are soft, tender cookies with a delicious anise flavor!
Topped with a sweet glaze and colorful sprinkles, these cookies are ideal for Christmas cookie platter or in fact, year round fun!!
Table of Contents
Why you'll love this recipe
Italian Anise cookies are so soft and tender that they melt in your mouth. These are perfect on the holiday cookie platter but I also love making these for Easter!
The sprinkles or colored nonpareils are just so festive. You can use multi colored or traditional red and green, either way they'll be gobbled up super fast!
Obviously, traditional flavor is anise - it's all in the name! Anise is a warm flavor similar to liquorice. I know this is a polarizing flavor. Either you love it or you don't. But read on for variations if anise is not to your taste. We are absolute anise fans and I use it in my Sbrisolona recipe as well.
If you want to make these for Easter or other occasions throughout the year, just change up the color of the glaze. Try pastels for Easter and different sprinkles at other times.
For a delicious Italian savory snack, mozzarella in carozza is so easy and a favorite with children!
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
To make these Italian Anise Cookie you'll need:-
- All Purpose Flour - Remember to measure correctly by stirring the flour to fluff it up and then spoon into cups with packing down. You'll notice in the recipe card that I say to add extra if it's too sticky. Mix in all of the dry ingredients and if you can't roll a ball add a little more flour.
- Baking Powder - Just a little to get the right amount of rise.
- Salt - As always, salt is important in sweet recipes to bring out the flavor.
- Eggs - I like to use free range eggs but use whatever you normally like.
- Superfine Sugar - Using superfine sugar mean that is will dissolve more easily and won't be gritty.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - This will give you the softness and flavor characteristic of the cookies!
- Anise Oil - I use anise oil. It's very strong so you just need a little bit. You can use anise extract if you can't find oil but it will not be as strong.
- Vanilla Extract - Adding vanilla extract along with the anise oil ensure the perfect flavor balance.
- Powdered Sugar - You'll want to be sure to sieve this so you don't have lumps in the glaze.
If you don't like anise flavor, use vanilla, almond, or citrus extracts.
Before you start, gather ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC and line a two of baking sheets with non stick paper.
- Whisk (or sieve) the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy.
- Gradually add the sugar until thick and light.
- Slowly beat in the oil.
- On low speed, add milk, anise extract and vanilla extract.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the dry ingredients.
- Roll teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and arrange on baking sheets
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Prepare the glaze by combining the sieved powdered sugar with anise oil and 4 teaspoons of water. Add more water if need to achieve the correct consistency.
- Dip the cookies in the glaze and sprinkle with colored sprinkles.
Tips and FAQ's
Always follow my tips for measuring flour. Stir the flour to fluff it up and then spoon into measuring cups without packing. Use the blade of a knife to level off.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar really well. The mixture will be thick and light in color.
Don't worry when the cookies crack during cooking. This is exactly how they should be.
Anise oil is a pure natural oil that has the flavor and aroma of black liquorice. This pure oil is quite concentrated and you'll just need a little in this recipe.
These cookies will keep for about a week. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. The colored sprinkles may bleed if the atmosphere is humid.
You can freeze these cookies in one of two ways.
The first way is to freeze the unbaked dough after you roll into balls. To bake simply defrost on lined baking sheets and bake as in the recipe card.
The second method is to freeze unglazed cookies in a sealed container for up to 3 months. To serve, defrost and glaze. I don't recommend freezing glazed cookies because the sprinkles could bleed.
If you enjoyed this recipe, I'd really appreciate a star rating and a comment or tag me on instagram @marcellina.in.cucina.
Either way, I love to hear from you!
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Italian Anise Cookies Recipe
- 2½ cups all purpose (plain) flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup superfine (castor) sugar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ½ teaspoon anise oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- a few drops of anise oil (or Sambuca)
- 5 to 6 teaspoons water
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC and line a two of baking sheets with non stick paper.
- In a bowl whisk (or sieve) all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a stand mixer bowl, beat with the whisk attachment the eggs until frothy, about 1 minute.
- Gradually add the sugar and beat until the mixture is thick and pale, about 2 or 3 minutes.
- Continue beating and gradually add the oil.
- Then on low speed add the milk, anise extract and vanilla extract.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the flour in two additions mixing with a wooden spoon. It may be too sticky so add a couple more spoonfuls of flour if needed.
- Roll teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on the prepare baking tray.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the tops have cracked and are lightly browned.
- Sieve the powdered sugar to ensure there are no lumps and that your icing will be smooth.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. You may not need all the water so just add 4 teaspoons to start and then add more as you need. The glaze should be thick but not too thick that it doesn't drip a little.
- Dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze and place upright on a wire rack. Sprinkle immediately with coloured sprinkles. Allow to set.
- Anise oil can be substituted with anise extract but you will need more because it isn't as strong. Used 1- 2 teaspoons anise extract in the dough and ½ teaspoon in the glaze.
- If you don't like anise flavor, use vanilla, almond, or citrus extracts.
Nutritional Information Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.