Smells can evoke a world of memories. I have some of the best childhood memories of Christmas - all centered around family. One of the smells that takes me right back to family Christmases in Pennsylvania is anise. Several of my relatives always had trays of cookies sitting out when we came to visit and my absolute favorite cookies were the anise cookies. I know that anise is an acquired taste (my husband can't stand the taste), but to me, they represent love, family, and countless memories. This recipe is my Great Aunt Ann's recipe, and I'm guessing it was passed down to her as well. Although I'm pretty much as Polish as you can get, anise cookies are notoriously Italian - I wonder how they snuck into the family recipe book?!
I'm also including one of my husband's favorite childhood Christmas cookies: jelly cookies. He loves anything that resembles shortbread, which they do, but with a special sweet twist.
Merry Christmas, enjoy!
From the kitchen of Ann N.
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk*
1 tsp. anise
5 tsp. baking powder
5 1/2 c. flour
Cream cheese frosting
1. Cream together the butter, sugar, milk, eggs, and anise.
2. Add in the baking powder and flour (slowly) and thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Roll the dough into small 1 1/2 in. balls and slightly press them down. Place them on the cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Allow the cookies to cool, then add the frosting.
From the kitchen of Laurie C.
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter*
2 egg yolks (save whites)
1/2 tsp. salt*
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1. Cream together sugar, butter, egg yolks, salt, and vanilla.
2. Slowly add in flour until all ingredients are combined.
3. Roll the dough into balls, dip into egg whites, and roll in chopped walnuts.
4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and press your thumb in the center to make an area for the jelly.
5. Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
6. Allow the cookies to cool, then spoon jelly preserves in the center of the cookie.
*- denotes changes that I made to the recipes
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