Christmas baking is on! And I thought it was time for some crispy festively shaped cookies. Because, why not, right? These anis stars are a perfect holiday cookie, crispy just the way I like them, coated in icing sugar and subtly flavoured with anis and cinnamon. Absolutely delicious! I love their crunchy texture and how fast they melt in your mouth as you eat them. For me, that is a perfect cookie – thin and crispy, but bursts into sweet dust in a second.

I have so many Christmas cookie recipes to share with you and each has a special combination of nuts and spices. I love this combination of almonds and anis, it gives such an amazingly warm, winterish flavour that goes perfectly with a cup of tea or cocoa. Just imagine yourself coming home after work, taking a plate of those cookies, warming up some milk, playing some good old Christmas classics and crunching one cookie after another because there is no stopping once you try them.

Try this flavour combination and stay tuned for some more cookie recipes to come. What are you going to be baking this year?

preparation time: about 25 minutes, does not include chilling and cutting out the shapes
baking time:  8 – 10 minutes, 180°C (350 F)

Ingredients for the cookie dough:

100 g almonds
100 g all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 whole anis*
100 g soft butter
50 g vanilla scented sugar**
1 large egg yolk
icing sugar for dusting

*Oddly enough, I only managed to find whole anis stars. So I took the seeds out of the “petals” and pulsed them alongside almonds in a food processor. I wasn’t sure about the result, but it turned out very well, the seeds got crushed into powder and they were well-distributed among the almonds. Alternatively, use mortar and pestle. I hereby promise it is my next kitchen investment. Santa, can you hear me? =)

**Click to see easy instructions on how to make your own vanilla sugar.

1.Start by grinding almonds (and anis seeds, see comment above). Pulse them in a food processor until they are finely ground.  Continue to prepare all the dry ingredients. Add sifted flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and mix everything shortly.

2. Cream together soft unsalted butter and vanilla sugar. Of course, you could use regular sugar and add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Use an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, hand mixer with a whisk attachment or just a hand held whisk. Provided the butter is soft enough, creaming the two is quite easy.

3. When the butter  gains some volume and gets frothy and creamy, add an egg yolk. Continue beating for a few minutes until everything gets well-incorporated.

4. Add all the dry ingredients and mix them in the wet using a spatula. Incorporate well, but don’t overmix. Now it’s time for the dough to chill. Flatten it into a thin log or a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Cool the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or even overnight.

5. When the dough gets firm enough to handle, flour your working surface and roll the dough out thinly. Using a cookie cutter, cut out stars or other shapes and arrange them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C/350 F. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the size and the thickness of the cookies. The dough is a bit darker from the beginning because of the almonds and spices, so keep an eye on the cookies and check them after about 8 minutes to see how fast they progress.

6. After taking the cookies out of the oven, let them sit on the tray for a few more minutes because they are pretty crispy and fragile as soon as they are baked. After about 5-10 minutes, dust them generously with icing sugar. Cuddle up on the sofa, get a book or start a movie and enjoy cookies with a comforting cup of tea or hot chocolate.

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ANIS STARS
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