Anise, the licorice-flavored seed, has been a vital element in dessert-making for centuries. Today, anise is widely used in cakes and cookies. Anise drop cookies are so named because they supposedly can drop from a four-foot counter without breaking — but this may be just a rumor.
Anise Drop Cookies
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes
Yield: 32 cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated ginger, or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1-1/3 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or 1/2 teaspoon powdered nutmeg
pinch of ground clove
2 tablespoons Sambuca or other anise liqueur, or 1 tablespoon anise seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the butter into 8 pieces.
With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, molasses, and brown sugar.
If mixing by hand, allow the butter to soften a bit more and then blend sugar and butter with a stiff whisk.
Scrape the bowl of the mixer with a spatula if the batter sticks to the side.
The batter should have no lumps.
Add the egg and grated ginger to the butter mixture and blend.
Combine the dry ingredients — cake flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove — and sift them into the butter mixture.
Add the Sambuca and stir.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Use a tablespoon to scoop out a little less than a tablespoon of batter per cookie, arranged in rows on the sheet, about 16 per sheet.
The cookies spread in the oven, so don’t crowd them.
Repeat Steps 8 and 9 with another sheet.
Bake both sheets for 15 minutes or until the edges turn slightly brown.