Ingredients

6 eggs
5 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon anise oil
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup shortening

For Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon anise oil
1 cup milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1. Beat eggs until frothy (approximately 6 minutes)
2. Put dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add to egg mixture slowly.  Add in the liquid shortening (The dough should be a bead like texture)
3. Pinch into one inch balls and bake for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, making sure not to brown tops.
4. For the icing, mix powdered sugar, anise oil extract and milk with hand mixer.
5. Dip cookie face down in icing while still wet. Add sprinkles!!

Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Scala-McGrath, Cookies by Jenn, 2010.

Another Italian Christmas treat for all to enjoy are these delicate cake-like cookies, glazed with icing and topped with colorful candy sprinkles. They have a mild anise flavoring, which is very typical of many Italian baked goods. Italian families always served these cookies at holidays such as Christmas, weddings or special celebrations.

Head cookie maker and owner of Cookies by Jenn, Jennifer McGrath-Scala has been making these cookies since she was a child. Jennifer grew up in an Italian Family where food was the center of everything. Jenn watched as a little girl her grandmother; mother and aunts bake cookies for the holidays. When she was “old enough,“ they would give her dough to play with and it made her feel so important and that is when she started to love baking and cooking.

Over the years her friends and family couldn’t wait for Christmas time (and for other holidays) because they enjoyed her cookies so much. For the past several years her friends at work encouraged her to sell her cookies but you can make them yourself as well by watching her video. This video was filmed in the Kitchen Showroom at the Building Center in Gloucester, MA. You can obtain more information at their web site; www.bcgloucester.com

Today I'm making anise cookies, which is the most popular Italian cookie. When I was a little girl, I used to call them the black licorice cookies, because that's what they taste like to me. And they're really good.

First, I'm going to make the cookie. Then I'm going to make the icing and show you how to put the sprinkles on.

The first step is to beat six eggs-- I use the Kitchen Aid and the whisk attachment-- for about, I'd say, five to six minutes. They need to be really frothy. And put it on high speed, just so that they're nice and frothy.

And they should actually look just like this. It should actually have a few bubbles in it and look light and fluffy. After you froth the eggs, you add the confectionery sugar.

Gradually add some flour. You don't want to do it all at once, because you don't want to be too thick.

So there's about five cups of flour in here. You want to kind of do 1/2 of it. Then I'm going to change the Kitchen Aid attachment to the paddle. OK.

And then I'm going to put this on stir, just to stir it up a little bit, probably about 10 seconds.

Now I'm going to add some more flour and the baking powder and the anise. And now I'm just going to mix this up until it forms a dough consistency. And then I'm going to add some Crisco. Now I'm going to add the shortening. And you want to get it all.

Then you stir it all up, and it'll be done. And now you need to use your hands. This is what the texture should look like. It should be a bead-like texture. And now I'm going to use my hands to make it into a nice dough. You want to form it. And this is how you can tell if it's the right way it needs to be. It's a little tough to work with. That's how you know you have it right.

And when you get it right, this is what it should look like. I'm going to line the pan with parchment paper. If you're not using parchment paper, I suggest you use shortening. Parchment paper's just a lot easier, especially for this cookie. It's an oily cookie.

So the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to roll these into balls. This dough is very difficult to work with. You have to play with it. And you have to get it nice in your hands and roll it really good.

And you space them about an inch apart. You see, it's a tough dough. And this is the way it should be. If it's any different, it's not right.

Now would be a good time to preset your oven at 350. And these will take about seven minutes to bake. You don't want to ever brown the top. You want to always make sure that the top stays this color.

And they don't have to all be the same size. Because if they're the same size, then you know that you bought them at a store. You want these to be homemade. Homemade cookies are not all perfect.

While these are in the oven, we're going to make the icing, which we have to dip while the cookies are very hot.

What you're going to do is mix about a box of confectionery sugar for all the cookies. And then you add the milk. And you whisk it together. And you add some anise extract. And you just mix it I'll up.

The consistency of the icing should be an icing-- not a frosting-- because you want to actually dip the cookie into it just to give it some extra flavor so it shines. You don't want it to be a frosting. And this is perfect.

I'm going to take the cookies out of the oven, and we're going to ice them while they're warm. If you wait till they're cold, the icing doesn't stick as well. You want to dip them and have them be really nice, so you can put the sprinkles on. They'll all stick around the whole cookie instead of just the tops.

Now you take the cookie, and you dip it in the icing while they're still warm. Get a good coat on it. Dip it a couple times, until you see the icing on the cookie.

And then, while it's still wet, just shake the sprinkles right on it. You can put any kind of sprinkles that you want on top of them. Or you can put coconut, or you can put almonds, or you can put walnuts, whatever you'd like. I just happen to like sprinkles.

Now these are the cookies all done and ready. And this is the traditional Italian anise sprinkle. This is what you usually see. And this is my signature here, the hot pink. Let's see.

Mmm. This is delicious. You should really try to make these. They're very, very, very good. [ITALIAN].

Italian Anise Cookies
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