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Cookies without Nuts
anise cookies
Anicini (Anise Cookies, with eggs, butter and anise extract; dusted with sugar)
Originated from: Genoa, Italy
Occasion: Special events
Contributed by: Mary Melfi (a neighbor's recipe)

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4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons anise extract
Sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is yellow and creamy.

Add butter and mix well.

Add egg whites and anise extract and mix well.

Add flour and baking powder.

Pour the thick batter in a square or rectangular shallow pan.

Dust with sugar

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes at 350 F or until the batter is golden brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes.

When the anise cookie batter is cooled, remove it from the pan and cut it crosswise into squares.

Place the anise squares on a cookie sheet and bake them again in a 300 F degree oven for 10 minutes or until both sides are golden (Twice-baked cookies are easy to burn, so one has to be very careful.).

Cool and serve.


North Americans have fallen in love with Italy's twice-baked cookies, generally referred to as "biscotti". It's assumed (Well, I assumed anyway) that biscotti are always cut lengthwise (That's what my mother did after all!). However, in Genoa and Liguria and possibly in Calabria as well, home-made biscotti also come in squares. Personally, I prefer the more traditional shape. Also, the store-bought varieties of anise biscotti are so good that home-made ones are a bit of disappointment. Now almond biscotti are a different matter -- they're worth the trouble of doing at home. The store-bought ones rarely have enough almonds in them and they're laced with almond extract, often the artificial variety. So while home-made biscotti might not look as nice as the ones you buy in a package, they generally have more flavor and are actually good for you (lots of protein!). Photo: Mary Melfi.

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