Anise Seed Holiday Cookies

Anise Seed Holiday Cookies |

This year, think outside of the sugar-cookie cutter and throw an unexpected ingredient into the mix: anise seeds.

This holiday cookie recipe has been in my family for three generations, and we’ve been making them together at the start of each season for as long as I can remember.

Of course, anise seeds are the secret ingredient, but to really bring out the flavor, pack your finished cookies in tins and set them outside (in the garage or on the back porch) for 48 hours—or longer, if you can wait.

As a kid, I loved helping my mom roll out the dough, cut out shapes and decorate, but there was nothing harder than waiting to eat them while they chilled in the garage.

Hopefully this recipe brings as many warm memories to your family as it did to mine!

Anise Seed Cookies
Makes about 30-35 cookies

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds


1. Cream softened butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix.

2. Add flour, salt and baking powder to batter. Mix well. Add anise seeds.

3. Roll dough in a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight (or for at least 2 hours).

4. Next day, roll out dough so it’s 1/4-inch thick and cut out cookies.

5. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown. Cool before frosting.


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • Splash of milk


1. Combine butter and powdered sugar and mix.

2. Add a few drops of vanilla and a splash of milk to give the frosting a spreadable consistency (careful not to add too much). Decorate when frosting is wet.