I’ve always wanted to participate in one of those cookie exchanges. What a fantastic idea! You bake lots of your favourite cookie, attend a party with other cookie bakers, and leave with a fabulous array of holiday treats that make it seem like you’ve spent months in the kitchen.
Well, my wish (kind of) came true! I’ve been asked to join a virtual cookie exchange created by the lovely Linda Poitevin. Virtual eating is no where near as fun as the real thing, but virtual baking and virtual clean up? That I can definitely handle.
Many thanks to Vanessa of Thodestool for inviting me to the party! If you check out all the invited guests’ posts, you’ll be able to collect 341 new cookie recipes…how cool is that?
As for me, it was really difficult to choose just one. There’s so many cookie recipes that I grew up with and absolutely adore. In honour of my Scandinavian heritage, I decided to go with Anise (or Aniseed) Cookies. If you’re from Scandinavia, chances are your holiday baking revolves around three spices: anise, cardamom, and caraway seeds. Anise lends a delicate liquorice flavour to these cookies, and it’s absolutely delicious. Trust me! I used to eat the seeds like candy when I was a kid.
**Note: While these cookies are easy to make, they do require two hours of chilling, so don’t try to whip them up at the last minute. Also, they don’t really brown. You’re looking for a hardening of the dough. If you leave them until they’re brown, they’re burnt. Very much like shortbread that way.
Anise Cookies (recipe from Harrowsmith)
1 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 cup soft butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
Crush anise seeds with a rolling pin or grind with a mortar and pestle and set aside. Cream butter, then gradually add sugar, mixing well. Add eggs one at a time, beating each time. Add vanilla. Stir in anise seeds, and gradually add flour, stirring sufficiently to mix. Chill the dough for two hours.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and knead lightly on a floured pastry board. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to half an inch thickness. Cut the cookies with a cookie cutter of your choice, place on a greased cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until dough starts to firm.
Makes approximately four dozen cookies.
Enjoy! What is your favourite holiday treat?