February 20, 2014

Anise Butter Cookies

I love anise, but haven't run across many recipes that call for aniseed. These butter cookies were delightful, but with just a hint of anise.

Anise Butter Cookies
from Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons aniseeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
2 1/4 all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy and pale, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beaters. Add the egg, lemon zest, vanilla and aniseeds, and beat together.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. On low speed, beat into the butter mixture, just until combined. Gather the dough into a ball, then press down to a 1-inch thickness. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days, or place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. Alternatively (if you don’t want to roll out the dough), remove spoonfuls of half of the dough and plop them down the middle of a piece of parchment paper to create a log about 2 inches in diameter. Fold the parchment up around the log to and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Preheat the oven to 350 F with the rack adjusted to the lowest setting. Line baking sheets with parchment.

Cut the dough into 2 or 4 pieces, and roll out one piece at a time on a lightly floured work surface, to about ¼-inch thick. Cut into circles or shapes, dipping the cutter into flour between each cut, and place 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Keep the remaining pieces of dough in the refrigerator or freezer.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, turning the baking sheets front to back halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

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