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? With these Star Anise Cookies, 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.
A COOKIE SERIES LIKE THIS IS A TIME COMMITMENT!
I’ve shared this with you before. If you’re thinking about starting a food blog, it’s not easy. I don’t want to scare you, but I have to be honest. It’s not hard work, but it’s time consuming. One recipe post, from the time the photos are taken to the point where I get to click on that publish button, takes about six hours. That, of course, depends on the type of recipe. So, my 24 Cookies of Christmas series was going to take up roughly 144 hours of my time in the busiest month of the year.
That doesn’t include the recipe development time. And, it doesn’t include baking, set up, cleaning, or even the time it takes to buy the ingredients.
It worried me, because I invest so much time and effort into Christmas decorating and tradition. I thought I might run out of steam. But, so far, so good! We are half way through and I’m still going strong!
IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE
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. And, there needed to be balance to the degree of difficulty for each recipe as well. I didn’t want to publish 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, scoop up 2 tablespoons of cookie dough, roll it into a ball, and flatten it with your palm. No rolling pin needed!
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
WHAT IS ANISE?
If you’re not 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, I used a drop of anise extract in the icing.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
Here’s the thing about this recipe. All of the flavour is derived from the ground anise and the anise extract. If you don’t care for the taste of licorice, you can use the same cookie base and change the flavour completely. You could use just vanilla extract if you prefer a plain cookie.
But, if you want something unique and different, consider using some uncommon extracts. I have a collection of extracts. I don’t use them often, but they’re there just in case the mood hits. Try orange or lemon extract in this cookies. I have a cotton candy extract that would be wonderful! Coffee extract would be good; so would mint, caramel, coconut, or even rum! Play with it; have fun with it!
Lastly, the icing is completely optional. I think it adds sweetness to the cookie. It’s 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!
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These cookies will stay fresh for about 7 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these cookies, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there. If you layer the cookies, be sure to place a sheet of parchment paper between each layer to keep the icing looking great. Once you thaw them, they will taste just as fresh as the day you first baked them.
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.