Star Anise Cookies are rustic and simple cookies that are filled with the familiar licorice flavour we all know and love. Not super sweet, these cookies pair very well with the icing drizzle, and uses only common pantry ingredients!
It’s day 12 – can you believe it? We are half way through Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas series. I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying this. I was so afraid that it was going to be super challenging, and even though I was excited about it from the beginning, I feared that I would eventually burn myself out.
I’ve shared this with you before, and if you’re thinking about starting a food blog, I don’t want to scare you, but in all honesty, blogging is not easy. It’s not hard work, but it’s time consuming. If one recipe post, from the conception of the recipe to the point where I get to click on that publish button, takes about six hours, depending of course on the type of recipe, then my 24 Cookies of Christmas series was going to take up roughly 144 hours of my time in the busiest month of the year.
It worried me, because I invest so much time and effort into Christmas decorating and Christmas traditions that I thought I might run out of steam. But, so far, so good! We are half way through and I’m still going strong!
In a previous post, I mentioned that I was trying to balance how the 24 Cookies of Christmas series would play out. I wanted a balance of cookies, bars, and balls. I also wanted to balance the degree of difficulty for each recipe as well; meaning, I didn’t want to publish too many back to back recipes that took too much time to prepare and/or bake.
Star Anise Cookies are very easy, although, it is another recipe that requires a rolling pin. I might not have balanced the rolling pin recipes as well as I had thought. If you don’t care too much about how perfect your cookies look, you could always scoop up 2 tablespoons of this cookie dough, roll it into a ball, and flatten it with your palm. No rolling pin needed!
If you’re not overly experienced with the flavours of real star anise spice, let me try my best to describe this unique flavour to you. I mentioned that it had a licorice flavour, and it does. It tastes like black licorice. If you like that taste, or if you like the taste of fennel, you’ll love anise.
Fennel seeds are used quite often in sausage recipes, so you’ll probably already be familiar with the flavour. Anise flavour is quite often used in Chinese cooking. In fact, it’s one of the main spices in the popular Chinese 5-Spice blend. Since there are many candies that have adopted the anise flavour, I thought it only made compete sense to incorporate it into a cookie.
You can buy star anise in its whole form. It’s hard and comes in the shape of an eight pointed star. They’re actually quite pretty! You can also buy ground star anise, which is what I’m using in this recipe. Star anise also comes in the form of an extract, and can be found in most grocery stores. In addition to the ground anise in the cookie dough, I used a drop of the anise extract in the icing.
The icing is completely optional. I think it adds sweetness to the cookie that is certainly a great pairing with the strong flavour of the star anise. Pair my Star Anise Cookies with a cup of tea for a delicious afternoon treat!
If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to check out the other cookies in my 24 Cookies of Christmas series. The cookies are listed below. Just click on the name of the cookie to be redirected to that particular recipe post. Tomorrow’s cookie uses a very popular ingredient found in most family homes – nutella!
UPDATE: Since all of the 24 Cookies of Christmas have now been published, I’ve compiled the complete list for you right here!
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Star Anise Cookies
For the Cookie:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground anise
- 1 teaspoon anise extract
For the Icing:
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 3 teaspoons anise extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 cup silver dragees, or any sprinkles you desire
For the Cookie:
- In a large bowl, use a hand-held mixer to combine the butter and sugar until well blended.
- Add the anise extract and beat into the butter mixture.
- Add the ground anise and the flour and blend into the butter mixture until just incorporated. Do not over mix!
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Dust a flat surface, such as your counter top, with flour and roll the chilled dough out with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick.
- Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. I didn’t have a star cookie cutter shape, so I used a snowflake shape.
- Transfer the dough to the baking sheet using a flat, slotted, metal spatula. Leave 2 inches between each cookie.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven promptly and allow cookies to rest for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Re-roll the left over dough, and bake the next batch.
For the Icing:
- Once the cookies are completely cooled, whisk together the icing ingredients. Drizzle the icing over the cookies and top with the silver dragees.
- Leave the cookies undisturbed so that the icing can dry and harden. Once dried, the cookies can be stacked in a food-safe container and stored in the fridge or freezer.
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