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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Anise Shortbread

I've got a thing for licorice. I love black licorice. Anise seed has a mild licorice flavor. It's a great addition to spice mixes, both sweet and savory. A lot of Middle Eastern and Indian recipes use anise seeds.

This recipe is adapted from a cookie recipe in an old spice cookbook (Spices of the World from McCormick 1964). The poor paperback is falling apart. But it has some fantastic recipes that are worth saving. I updated this to be a bar cookie. I also cut the fat and sugar and added whole wheat flour for a healthier treat. They are still very tasty. If you let them sit for a day or two, it will enhance the anise flavor. My kids devoured them when they were barely cooled.

Anise Shortbread

1/2 c. butter (the real stuff tastes much better in this recipe)
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. anise seed
1 c. whole wheat flour
2/3 c. white flour

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, salt, vanilla, baking powder, and anise seed. Beat until very fluffy. Stir in flours just until mixed. It will be crumbly. Spray a 9x13 baking dish. Heat oven to 350°F. Spread crumbs in pan and pat smooth. Bake for 15 minutes, just until very lightly browned and slightly puffed. Let cool. Cut into small bars. Makes about 32 small bars.