Italian 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. They're the perfect addition to your cookie tray all year round but, especially for Christmas.
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.
Store cookies in an air tight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days, as icing contains milk and is therefore perishable.
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.