Part of the magic of a recipe from the 1800’s is that it does not contain very much sugar. The cloying sugary overkill I often associate with sugar cookie cutouts is absent here. While they are still a sweet treat, the balance is just right with a mellow, buttery bite of delicate vanilla, followed by the faint crunch of seeds and the refreshing echoes of anise. After a holiday meal, give me a cup of tea, one of these cookies, and I will be filled with content. Did you know that aniseed seeds a re very helpful in aiding digestive issues and upset stomachs. You Can read more about this wonderful spice here.
I Love these cookies plain but they certainly look more festive with a little frosting and you could decorate with the silver or gold balls for an added flair.
Spices used in this recipe
Aniseed Seeds Whole
Aniseed Seeds Whole are a small oval-shaped seed which are native to the Mediterranean. They have a light brown colour and a sweet liquorice flavour that makes them great for sweet and savoury dishes alike. Aniseed seeds are not related to star anise which is native to China. Even though they have similar flavours, star anise is much stronger. Consequently, aniseed can be used as a substitute for star anise, and vice versa.$3.45
To make the cookies:
Cream the butter and sugar together, and then mix in the eggs, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. (The mixtures is creamed when the color changes to a lighter cream color.)
Add the flour, mixing until just combined, and then the anise seeds, mixing until they are more or less evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Cover and refrigerate the dough for an hour or more
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Flour a surface and your rolling pin, and roll the dough out to about 1/4 of an inch.
Cut cookies out using the cookie cutter of your choice, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are slightly puffed up and have turned a light golden color around the edges.
While the cookies cool, make the frosting: cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Mix in the vanilla and salt, and add the milk a little bit at a time, halting once you’ve reached a smooth, spreadable consistency.