“Anise is a favorite sweet spice in Europe, especially in the Scandinavian countries and in Germany. Our modern wedding cake is said to date back to the anise-flavored cakes eaten by the Romans after elaborate meals.
Anise, a small annual plant, stems from the parsley family. It originated, in prehistoric times, from that part of the eastern Mediterranean which historians call the Fertile Crescent, probably because so many of our useful plans seem to have been born there.
Anise was found in Egypt in 1500B.C., according to records, and is mentioned in the Bible. With the passing of years, it made its way to India, sections of northern Europe and, more recently, to the Americas. When the settlers of Virginia were making their laws, anise was considered so valuable that every newcomer was required to plant six anise seeds.
Anise seeds are an appetizing addition to cookies, cakes and sweet rolls. A pinch of anise used with fruits adds to their deliciousness, too.”
Note: To crush anise seeds, use a mortar and pestle, if available, or place seeds in a custard cup and crush with the back of a spoon.
Makes about 3 dozen of cookies
- 1 cup light-brown sugar
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp crushed anise seed (if you don’t like anise use cardamom instead)
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) soft butter
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Gradually blend brown sugar and crushed anise seed into butter. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and add to the butter mixture alternately with combined egg and milk. Mix well. Fill the pastry bag using tip (B6) with the dough. Form cookies in desired shapes on baking sheets. Top with chocolate chips.
Bake the cookies 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly brown. Cool on wire racks. Store airtight.