These classic Italian anise cookies are a bit moist (not dry) and dipped in a delicious anise glaze then topped with nonpareils. They’re EASY-to-make and a great addition to a cookie tray all year round and especially for holidays like Christmas and Easter.
Italian Cookie Recipes
Coming from a 100% Italian family, I’m pretty good with Italian cooking as my friends use me as an Italian cooking resource…even the Italian-Americans. Insert smiley face here.
My parents were (R.I.P.) Italian immigrants after all and my mother was an excellent Italian home cook… like gourmet level! Luckily and thankfully, I inherited the cooking gene!
Italian cookies are a given in Italian households both in America and in Italy. This Christmas tradition has been passed down through generations. I’ve made Chocolate-dipped Amaretto Biscotti and Peppermint Mocha Biscotti that everyone can’t stop eating.
When I made these delicious cookies, my boys asked me why I was making Easter cookies at Christmas. LOL!
Why, do you ask? I make anise flavored Italian Easter Bread at Eastertime and they relate the anise aroma to Easter. They LOVE Easter Bread so they equally LOVE Italian Anise Cookies!
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Italian Anise Cookies
Anise Cookies have a somewhat moist cookie center (if not overbaked) and flavored with anise extract in the cookie dough as well as the glaze.
Italian Anise Cookie Ingredients
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Cookie Decorating Ingredients
Baking Pro Tips:
- Measure ingredients accurately.
- Do not overbake your cookies. They’ll come out dry. Monitor them closely.
- Cookies on the bottom rack in the oven brown faster than the top rack. Pull them out first and possibly before the top rack.
- Storing your cookies properly- in air tight containers, keeps them fresher longer.
- Use sprinkles instead of nonpareils or omit them if you wish. This Wilton Holiday Mix contains both and I use it.
- If someone in your family doesn’t like anise, you can substitute lemon or almond extract instead in the same amounts and make two batches. You may also halve this recipe and use 1/2 tsp of lemon or almond extract for half the dough and glaze and 1/2 tsp of anise extract for the other half of the dough and glaze. Hope that’s not confusing.
Italian Anise Cookies are so, so delicious!! What’s more is they’re easy-to-make! They’re the perfect addition to your holiday baking list and cookie tray all year round but, especially for Christmas.
Make them for Easter too and use pastel nonpareils!
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Italian Anise Cookies
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp anise extract or 1/2 tsp if you prefer
- 2 tbsp milk or slightly more
- First, preheat oven to 325F.
- Next, cream the butter: Add sugar and softened butter to a large mixing bowl and mix until combined.
- Then, add anise extract, milk and eggs one at a time while mixing.
- Next, add about 1/2 cup of flour at a time and mix until combined.
- Then, add baking powder and salt and mix.
- Next, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Then, add one and a half tbsp or so of cookie dough to baking sheets in three rows of four. There should be twelve cookies per baking sheet. These cookies do not spread out a lot. Place cookie dough two inches apart.
- Next, bake cookies at 325F for 10-15 minutes. The top of the cookies should not look wet. Insert a toothpick in the middle of some cookies to ensure cookies are fully baked. Toothpick should come out clean.
- Then, cool cookies for 10 minutes before decorating.
- In a small mixing bowl add powdered sugar, milk and anise extract. Stir until smooth. You may need to add a little (start with 1/2 tsp) more milk if the mixture is too thick. It's easy to add to much milk. If this happens, add more powdered sugar one tsp at a time until the mixture is thinner.
- First, dip the top of a cooled cookie into anise glaze and twist cookie to cover the top entirely.
- Next, either dip the cookie into a small bowl of nonpareils (or sprinkles if you prefer) or use your fingers to sprinkle the nonpareils on top of you want to limit the number of nonpareils used.
Storage:Store cookies in an air tight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days, as icing contains milk and is therefore perishable.
Freezer:While decorated cookies are on the baking/cookie sheets, place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, remove from cookie sheets and place in gallon freezer bags for up 6 months.
This recipe was adapted from Love Bakes Good Cakes.