Italian Anisette Cookies
When I was a wee Doom, my grandmother making these cookies signaled the start of the holiday season. I’ve pulled out the old recipe card, translated it from Italian and thought I would share it with you.
For the Cookies:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons anise extract
- (Optional) 1-2 tablespoons of anise seeds
For the glaze
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2-4 tablespoons milk
1: Melt butter and shortening together. As it melts add sugar and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time beat well after adding each. Mix in anise extract and optional anise seeds.
2: Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl.
3: Add the creamed mixture gradually. If the dough is too sticky to roll add flour until firmer, however, the dough should be very soft.
4: Roll dough into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
5: Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. The bottoms should be lightly browned but the tops should remain light. Remove cookies and place on wire rack to cool completely.
1: Mix milk very slowly into confectioners sugar to make a thick glaze.
2: Dip top of each cookie into glaze. You can add sprinkles, I like to sprinkle additional anise seeds on mine.
3: Dip about 10-12 at a time. Make sure you keep a piece of wax paper under the wire rack to help with any cleanup. I like to sprinkle once I dip and put them back on the rack.
Note: Rolling ¾” balls this makes about 100 cookies.
Cookies of Joy
This is a very old recipe. You can find a lot of variations around the internet on it, but I'm particularly fond of it, especially around this time of the year. It's based on a recipe from around 1157, written down by Hildegard Von Bingen, who was an abess, musician, writer, philosopher, mystic, and many other things. Enjoy!
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
DirectionsPreheat the oven to 350°
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Beat in egg.
- Sift dry ingredients together in separate bowl.
- Add half the dry ingredients to the butter and mix.
- Add the second half of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- If you need to chill the dough to make it workable, do it.
- Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls. Place each ball on greased and floured cookie sheet or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press flat.*
- Bake 12-15 minutes until edges are golden brown.
- Cool for 5 minutes on pan, then remove to cooling rack.
* To press flat, I found it's easier to do with the bottom of a glass. I usually dust the bottom of the glass into plain white sugar before using the glass to flatten the cookies. This also helps the cookie to release from the bottom of the glass. This is a great way to make more uniform, very nice looking cookies without specialty equipment.
Dutch Oven Dublin Coddle
It’s getting colder out there. Perfect time for some traditional Dublin Coddle.
- 8 thick slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
- 1 pound high-quality pork sausages
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 bottle Guinness beer
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 large onions, cut into slices, Alternatively. I prefer to use 2-4 Leeks instead
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary as it suits you.
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 cups beef, ham, or chicken broth
- Preheat the oven to 300°.
- Heat a large, oven-proof Dutch oven over high heat. Add in the bacon and cook until crisp, about five minutes. Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels. Leave the grease in the Dutch oven.
- Add the sausages in, a few at a time (don’t crowd the pan), and cook on each side until just golden brown—no need to cook all the way through. Remove to a plate and continue with additional sausages. Remove to plate. When cool enough to handle. Slice into 1″ pieces.
- Reduce the heat to low, and then whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Then remove from heat completely.
- Whisk in the bottle of Guinness
- Place half of the potatoes in the gravy, followed by half of the onions or leeks, half of the garlic, half of the bacon, half of the sausages, half of the parsley, the bay leaves, the thyme, and black pepper. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients.
- Pour the broth over the whole thing. Place lid on, and bake in preheated oven for at least 2 hours
- If you can find traditional Irish sausages (Bangers) then great. If you can’t, any good-quality pork sausage will do., I like to use boar sausage.
- This dish is rather salty, do not add salt without tasting it first
- If you want to skip using beer, add another 1.5 cups of broth.
- So this will be ready to eat in about 2 hours. However it can easily stay cooking for 3-5 with no consequences.
- This can be done over a campfire.