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Cookies without Nuts
anise cookies
Anise Cookies (Italian-flavored anise cookies, made with yeast dough; flavored with anise oil; glazed)
Originated from: Molise, Italy
Occasion: Special times
Contributed by: Taken from Rizzi DeFabo's cookbook, "Cooking with Rizzi" (Crabtree Press, 2010)

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For Cookies:
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons anise oil, or more if desired
1 (2-ounce) yeast cake or 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons shortening
5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
colored sprinkles

For Glaze:
2/3 cup hot milk
6 cups powdered sugar
dash of vanilla
colored sprinkles for garnish


To Make Cookies:

Beat eggs and anise oil together.

In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve.

Heat milk and combine with shortening. Allow shortening to melt.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt.

Place the flour mixture on a board and make a well.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and yeast mixture; whisk until blended.

Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour and mix until a soft dough is formed.

Knead until smooth.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover.

Allow dough to rise for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take a heaping teaspoon of dough and roll it in your hands to form a 2-inch rope.

Wrap it around your finger or twist dough to form a knot; set on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Continue until all dough is used.

Cover and allow formed cookies to rise for an additional 10 minutes.

Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown.

Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before glazing.

To Make Glaze:

Heat milk, but do not boil.

Sift powdered sugar.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat sifted sugar and milk together.

Add vanilla and beat until smooth.

Divide glaze into equal parts and color with desired food coloring.

Dip cooled cookies into glaze and sprinkle with colored sprinkles.

Allow cookies to dry completely before storing in an airtight container.

YIELD: 12 to 13 dozen


This recipe was taken from Rizzi DeFabo's cookbook, "Cooking with Rizzi" (Crabtree Press, 2010) with the expressed permission of the author, an award-winning Italian-American chef and owner of "Rizzo's Malabar Inn." "Rizzo's Malabar Inn" is located in southwestern Pennsylvania (126 Rizzo Road, Crabtree, Salem Township). The food served at this restaurant, a local landmark dating back to the 1920s, reflects the culinary traditions of Abruzzo and Molise. Rizzi DeFabo notes in his cookbook that "Gram DeFabo called these "wedding cookies." However, most traditional wedding cookies are not made with a yeast dough. We serve Anise Cookies for holidays as a garnish to our gelati." Photo: Mary Melfi.

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