These old fashioned Anise Snaps are a rare treat. Soft, buttery cookies with a hint of licorice flavor offer something a bit different for the cookie plate.
I don’t like black licorice at all so I was hesitant to even try these cookies. However, good friends insisted they were not only great cookies but some of their personal favorites. In the spirit of being adventurous about food I gave them a try and was totally captivated.
Old Fashioned Anise Cookies
The Anise Snaps were buttery and chewy with just a hint of crunch on the outside from the sugar. The flavor was light and fragrant like some exotic spice. There was just a hint of licorice flavor and it was absolutely perfect. I had never had anything like them. It was easy to see why they had become favorite cookies for so many people.
I have been passing them out this past week and they meet with rave reviews everywhere. The flavor is old fashioned in a lovely way and a perfect addition to your baking list!
I always love to hear from you. What cookies are you baking up this Christmas? What are your favorites?
Where to buy Anise
Anise seed is available in most grocery stores with the spices. You can also order it on Amazon if you like.
Anise extract is also usually found with the spices. I use McCormick because I like the quality. Just make sure to order the extract and not the oil.
Love unique cookies? These soft and chewy Almond cookies are some of my all time favorites!
Anise Snaps (Licorice Cookies)
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ tsp. anise extract
- 1 Tbsp. anise seeds
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. cream of tartar
- ½ tsp. salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer still on medium speed, add the egg, anise extract, and anise seed. Scrape the bowl again.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
- With the mixer on low speed slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat until the dough is well combined.
- Chill the dough for two hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly butter two cookie sheets.
- Use a melon baller to form small balls of dough and roll in granulated sugar to evenly coat. Place balls of dough on greased baking sheets and bake at 350 F for 10-11 minutes until the cookies are starting to set and just becoming golden at the edges.
- Let cool on the baking sheets for five minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Recipe Credit: Special thanks to Elizabeth Barrett and family for sharing their wonderful recipe for this classic. I have not adapted the recipe at all. It is an honor to get to share and preserve a classic recipe like this that should not get lost over time!
I signed up again because I haven’t been receiving your posts for some reason. I wanted to say that I grew up with my mother’s German Christmas cookies. She made sugar cookies with no baking powder and with a very thin colored glaze, cookies with ground walnuts shaped with a cookie press and one end of the cookies dipped in chocolate, 3-tiered cookies with jam placed in an indentation in the center and sprinkled with powdered sugar, meringue cookies, sandies which are like the wedding/Danish/Mexican cookies except they were shaped into half moons and last but not least, Anise cookies! But the recipe was different from this one, they were small but shaped like the chocolate covered cookies with the marshmellow inside, know what I mean? They looked like they had a dome on top but no chocolate. After baking she’d set them on the counter overnight uncovered. They’d get super hard but then she’d store them in a covered container for 2 or 3 weeks until they softened somewhat. They were never really too soft but oh my goodness, that smell and taste of anise was divine! I loved them. Unfortunately, she passed away too early in 2000 and my siblings and I never got her recipes because she was still baking and sending them to us every Christmas. I’m really sad about that although I do have her sugar cookie recipe.
You are the 2nd reader this week to check in! I have not been sending a newsletter out (busy getting recipes out before the holidays and the we were traveling). I’m trying to shoot one out this week! It is on my list for today but along with about 25 other things and a busy toddler who wants about 110% of my attention after getting a ton of attention from his relatives over Christmas. I have a friend who is German and lives here now. I will drop her a note today and see if she has a recipe like this. I feel like she made something similar for our book club two years back! If I get anything I will shoot you an e-mail!
I asked my German friend about these cookies and realized today I never shared the recipe she sent me here! This is what she sent – I hope it is helpful!
I found a recipe for Anise cookies in my Bavarian cook book from around 1930. I never made it myself (I don’t like anise), but these are all traditional recipes.
1.3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp anise
1-1.3 cups flour
Beat eggs and powdered sugar really well, until frothy. Add anise. Then slowly add flour.
With a teaspoon put little drops of dough on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Drops should keep their shape when put on the baking sheet, but the surface of the drops should get smooth (does that make sense?). Let dry over night in a not too warm room. On the next day bake at 300 degrees until light brown.
Makes about 100 cookies.
I did my best to translate, but you might want to change measurements or wording, so it sounds accurate and not confusing.
Mirlandra, I just now saw your comment! My mother was from the Bavarian part of Germany but her recipe is a bit different. I wish I could attach a picture that I found online of what hers looked like. As I mentioned in my previous post from a few years ago I never got her recipe but the following is pretty close. She made a lot of these in one batch but the recipe below only makes 12.
Anise Drop Cookies
(Yield: 12 cookies)
1/2 cup sugar
2 drops anise oil
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon anise seed
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Butter, to liberally grease the baking sheet
Cream together the egg, sugar, and anise oil until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, anise seed, lemon zest, and salt. Beat the dry ingredients into the wet (the dough will be thin, almost like cake batter).
Drop by spoonful’s onto a greased cookie sheet, 1-inch apart. Let stand 12 hours or overnight (dough will harden).
Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the cookies are puffed and look like mushroom caps, and the bottoms are lightly golden.
Aileen thank you!!! It is so kind of you to share this!!!
Theses are wonderful! It so nice to have a soft anise flavored cookie. And so easy to make. Everyone I have given them to gave them them a 5 star rating.
Thank you, Becky! I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipe as much as we do!
Rochelle Winston Davies
Do the cookies flatten on their own when cooking or should we slighted flatten with a fork before placing in the oven?
Hi Rochelle! They flatten very nicely on their own! Happy Baking!!!