Anisette Cookie Recipe

An Italian cookie Christmas classic from childhood

Prep time: Approx. 30 min.
Cook time: 12 min. for ea. batch of cookies. (About 3 batches)
Total time: Approx. 1 hr.
Temp: 400 degrees F
Yield: About 40 cookies

Anisette Cookie Ingredients:

  • 3-1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. pure anise extract
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar (Also known as powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Candy sprinkles Note: These are important! I have some detailed information below about the candy sprinkle thing, some tips from my mom about the proper sprinkles to use. You need to use “NonPareils”.
  • You will need two large bowls for this recipe, two nice double-wall insulated cookie sheets and a cooling rack. You can make this recipe with one cookie sheet, but two will help.

See below for VERY detailed recipe instructions.

Anisette Cookies
Anisette Cookies, frosted and drying on the rack. YUM!


You will need (2) large bowls….

Bowl #1
Place 1 cup sugar and 1 stick of butter into bowl #1. Cut the butter into the sugar using a pastry blender like (this one here). I only know what this is because I’m married and my wife taught me how to use one of these 🙂 Make sure you get the butter and the sugar blended well. You may want to soften your stick of butter prior to blending.
You will need to crack 6 eggs into this bowl and add 1 tbsp. of anise extract. NOTE: Don’t forget to put in the anise extract! I’ve done this before, not good! Mix this up well with a fork, then mix it with a classic hand beater like (this one here) until the mix is smooth and fluffy. Now set this bowl aside.

Bowl #2
Add 3 cups of sifted flour and 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder and mix well. Sifting the flour is not all that necessary, but if you have fun sifting flour then go for it, it makes the flour so nice and soft and fluffy that you just want to jump into a pile of it and roll around…. um, sorry, where was I?….

At this point you will want to preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Now you will need to slowly pour the contents of bowl #2 into bowl #1, mixing well with a fork as you add the flour mixture. Note: This is a little different then most cookie recipes because normally you add the wet mixture to the dry. In this case you are adding the dry mixture to the wet. After you have all of bowl #2 poured into bowl #1, continue to mix well with a fork. It’s going to be hard work and the dough will get thick and sticky. At this point add 1/2 cup of flour and continue to mix. Mix until the dough is stiff and sticky (and just a little wet) with an almost elastic consistency. Now your cookie dough is ready to go. OK now, DON’T EAT THE DOUGH! Wait until it’s cooked!

Now you want to get a nice double-wall insulated cookie sheet like this one here. Get a paper towel and rub it on a room temperature stick of butter, then spread the butter onto the baking pan, sprinkle some flour on top of that and lightly spread the flour with your hand. Then take a teaspoon and add spoonfuls of dough onto the pan, the dough will be very sticky, that’s OK, it’s supposed to be like that. It will be so sticky that you will have a hard time getting it all off the spoon. Don’t worry, this is a good thing 🙂 The bonus is, you will get a lot of dough that sticks to your fingers and the only way to really get it off is to lick it off 😉

Now you place the cookies into your preheated oven and cook for 12 minutes, +/- 1 or 2 minutes based on your oven. Gas cooking will always offer the best results. You will know they are ready when you press the cookie with your finger and the dough spring right back after pressing and the tops will start to get just a tinge of brown on them. Watch the cookies very close toward the end of baking, you don’t want to over cook them. They go from perfect to overcooked in a small amount of time, so pay attention!

You will need a nice cookie cooling rack, do you have one? You’ll need one. When the cookies are done take them off the cookie sheet immediately and place them on the cooling rack.

Now you are going to want to add icing to the cookies, so you are going to have to make the icing. Here is how you make the icing. Get a medium sized bowl, one that is deep and narrow. Put in 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar also called powdered sugar, then add in 1/4 cup of milk and 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Mix this well. making icing like this is a very forgiving recipe, you just add a little more milk and or a little more powdered sugar as you go to get the right consistency. When you add the milk, just add one drop at a time, a little goes a long way with the powdered sugar stuff. You want to get the consistency of the icing so as to drip off of a spoon but still be thick enough to not totally drip off of the cookie. You will have to experiment with this until you get it just right.

anisette cookies blowup
Anisette cookies on the rack.

Now that you have made the icing, go ahead and drip the icing onto the cooled cookies. Be creative and make it pretty, you want to have the icing harden so it has the appearance that the icing is dripping right off the cookie, oh man! I’m getting hungry just talking about it! I have placed a nice close-up on the right to show you what I mean. OK this is important as well; You see the nice candy sprinkles on these cookies? Well, my mom says these are the wrong sprinkles. Here is what my mom had to say about this: “One little tip. You have used the wrong candies on the frosting. You need to get the NonPareils which are small candy balls and have NO chocolate bits.” OK, you got that? Very important straight from the momma!

Anisette cookies on cooling rack
Anisette cookies prior to frosting.

To the left here we see these lovely cookies just out of the oven prior to icing, Snowdog says, “HI”!!! He likes to help me make these classic Italian cookies! 🙂 These cookies are perfect to serve after a nice Italian meal like Anthony’s Spaghetti, Meatballs and Braciole and they go perfect with a nice dark roast coffee or espresso.

That’s it you’re done… Easy as Pie!


Anisette Cookies Recipe Video

Anisette Cookies Photo Gallery

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These photos shows the correct “NonPareils” candy sprinkles.
Anisette Cookie BlowupAnisette Cookie BlowupAnisette Cookie BlowupAnisette Cookies for Christmas

10 thoughts on “Anisette Cookie Recipe”

  1. Hi Anthony I have been making your recipe since 2009 the closest recipe to my grandma’s now a tradition with my kids and their friends all looking for them a Christmas time. With that being said sometimes a make triple batches . I have stored in Tupperware containers but the sprinkles run after a few days my dilemma is if I put in a tin I’m afraid they won’t last long. How do you store them for ? how do you store them?


    1. The answer to this important question is they do not store well at all. You have to eat them ALL as quick as possible and then make more 🙂 It’s the combination of the frosting and non pareils that is the problem. They still taste good but look horrible after a few days.


  2. I’m looking for an Italian cookie recipe that my aunt made when I was a child. They were crunchy like a biscuit, rolled like a snake then twisted & glazed with a lemon sugar frosting sprinkled with rainbow nonpareils. The biscuit itself was not flavored with anise or lemon. Sometimes they were rolled in sesame seeds.
    Does this sound familiar to anyone?


      1. Thanks. They look right. I’ll try them & let you know if they’re crunchy like a biscuit.
        Found your site years ago while searching for an authentic sunday gravy recipe & love it. I laughed all the way through as I followed your recipe. Several hours and a large jar if oregano later, the sauce was delicious. I’ve told the story of my afternoon following your recipe many times. I thought that recipe would never end, but it was worth it.
        For the sake of saving time I usually make a quicker 2 hour sauce, but, at least twice a year I follow your receipt for a special dinner.
        Thanks for caring, and taking the time save your grandma’s recipes.


      2. I tried this recipe and it’s pretty close although this cookie was more tender. The flavor was right, more biscuit then sweet.


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