Italian Anise Cookies

Lauren Kroesser remembers the holiday seasons of her childhood fondly, thanks to her grandmother’s Italian anise cookies. “They are my all-time favorite holiday cookies because they remind me of my Noni and all of the other Italian women in my family that have passed the recipe down through the years,” says the talented (and busy) pastry chef. This season, take a page from the Kroesser playbook with these soft, cakey cookies for a departure from the standard chocolate chip or sugar cookie. “Also,” adds Kroesser, “they’re mounded with lots of fluffy frosting, which is always a good thing!”

See more holiday cookie recipes here.


Yields: 60


For the cookies:
  • 1 1/2 cups Crisco
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 6 cups flour
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
For the frosting:
  • 6 tablespoons Crisco
  • 1 box confectionary sugar
  • 1 tablespoon anise extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 6 tablespoons milk


For the cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat together room-temperature Crisco and sugar until light and creamy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each until incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together milk and vanilla, anise and lemon extracts.
  5. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate slowly adding dry and wet ingredients to the mixer, scraping the batter down as you work and ending with dry ingredients.
  6. Form dough balls and bake for exactly 15 minutes (don't brown the cookies).
For the frosting:
  1. Whip all ingredients together on high until light and fluffy. Top with rainbow sprinkles.

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