Easy Italian Anise Cookies that everyone loves. These classic cookies are soft with vanilla icing and sprinkles on top! Recipe makes 18 cookies.
Italian Anise Cookies Recipe
These classic Italian Anise Cookies will have you eating 1 and wanting more. Trust me. Each cookie is soft, tender and baked to light golden brown. Once baked they’re dipped in a simple vanilla icing and rainbow sprinkles are added on top.
From start to finish these cookies will take 30 minutes as you don’t need to chill the dough. The recipe makes 18 cookies, but you can easily double or triple the recipe if you want to make more.
What flavor is Anise?
These cookies have a sweet licorice-like taste due to the teaspoon of anise extract we’re adding to the batter (and to the icing). You can usually find anise extract in your grocery store baking or spices aisle, but like everything else, you can find it on Amazon for a couple bucks cheaper too.
How to Soften Butter
This recipe requires softened butter, not melted. I basically never have room temperature butter so I thought I’d share how I quickly soften it.
Remove butter from the refrigerator, place in microwave safe bowl (ideally the bowl you’re going to make the cookie batter in for less dishes) and microwave for 15-20 seconds or until softened. Monitor the butter in the microwave and stop it as soon as you see it start to melt.
How to Make Italian Anise Cookies
In a large mixing bowl mix butter and sugar until creamy.
Add eggs, vanilla extract and anise extract and continue to mix.
In another bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt together.
Slowly mix the flour mixture into the wet mixture. The dough will feel sticky and wet and that’s totally what we want so don’t worry about it!
Grab a piece of dough, about 1 1/2 tablespoon big and roll into a ball. For reference, this should be about the size of a ping pong ball. Tip: If the dough is too sticky to handle, rub flour on your hands first, this will make handling the dough much easier.
Now roll the dough between your fingers and hands out into a long rope, about 6 inches long.
Shape into a figure “8” (my daughter calls these “8 cookies” hah), connecting the edges.
Bake for about 14 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
Now on to the icing…!
Move Quickly with Icing Glaze
The icing on these cookies dries very fast so here’s my suggestions to make it easy!
While the cookies are baking prepare the icing so it’s ready to go. Place the icing in a shallow bowl or plate, something that you can easily dip a cookie into.
Only allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes when you pull them out from the oven. We still want them warm for the icing.
Dip a cookie into the icing and then immediately add sprinkles (I love this big container of sprinkles). You can do this one cookie at a time, or a couple, but DON’T dip every cookie and think the icing will still be wet when you’re done. It won’t be, it will be dry and your sprinkles won’t stick to it!
Continue until all the cookies have icing and sprinkles on.
Allow the icing to fully dry before moving ahead to store them. (directions below).
How to Store Italian Cookies
Store cookies in an airtight container or in a sealable plastic bag. Cookies last about 4-5 days.
Make them for Christmas
These are a classic cookie for the holidays and can easily be tweaked for your Christmas cookie box. Instead of rainbow sprinkles add red, green and white sprinkles and nonpareils. These make a perfect gift for friends and family too!
More Desserts with Sprinkles Recipes:
Pin for later:
Italian Anise Cookies with SprinklesPrint
- 1/2 cup butter softened (not melted)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon anise extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup powdered confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2 baking sheets by spraying them with nonstick spray or putting down silicone baking mats.
- Add butter and sugar in a large bowl, beating until it’s creamy and combined. Add eggs, vanilla extract and anise extract and continue to mix.
- In another bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the flour mixture a little bit at a time into the wet mixture, mixing until well combined. The dough will feel and look sticky, that's ok and what we want!
- Break off a small piece of dough and roll into a ball about the size of a ping pong ball (about 1 1/2 tablespoons).
- Roll the dough between your hands to form a rope, about 6 inches.
- Make a figure 8 with the dough, connecting the ends. Place cookie on baking sheet and continue until all the dough is gone. This recipe makes approximately 18 cookies.
- Bake 14-16 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly golden brown.
- While the cookies are baking prepare the icing mixture by adding powdered sugar, milk, anise extract and vanilla extract in a shallow bowl, mixing with a spoon.
- As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, allow to cool for just 2 minutes. We need them to still be warm for the icing! Dip each cookie into the icing and then immediately add sprinkles on top.
- The icing dries very fast, so don't dip all the cookies in the icing first and then come back for the sprinkles, the icing will already be dry. It's best to do one cookie or a couple at a time.
- Once icing is completely hardened, store cookies in an air-tight container or plastic bag. The cookies last for about 4-5 days.