"if you wish to be glamorous, become a cake baker" -The Joy of Cooking

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Cookies!

Today I finally got started on my Christmas cookie baking.  Every year, with the help of my sister, I like to bake a huge assortment of cookies.  It’s nice to give them away as little presents, bring them to parties and have them on hand for when company stops by, which can be often during this time of year 

We always make anise twist cookies, that we call zia’s cookies because my aunt was the only one who could make these beautiful cookies, shortbread, thumbprints, biscotti and chocolate chip cookies-not just the standard chocolate chip cookie but white chocolate, cranberry and pecan ones….mmmmmmm. 

This year I decided to buy a madeleine pan and add them to the list, as well as gingerbread.  I’m dying  to use my new copper cutters I bought from Williams Sonoma and a few other new cutters that my darling and thoughtful bf gave me a couple days ago.
Today I  only got through a batch of almond, orange and dark chocolate biscotti, vanilla madeleine and about 3 dozen of zia’s cookies.

Anise extract-the key ingredient for zia's cookies


the finished cookies


ready for the oven

                                                        Biscotti, going in the oven for the second baking                                                               


my new Madeleine pan...it's so pretty!


Zia’s cookies are definitely a favourite in my family and not just made for this time of year.  As long as I can remember my aunt would make batches and batches of these cookies for any kind of special occasion or get together.  Sometimes she would come over and spend a whole afternoon making dozens and dozens of them for my mother so we could keep a reserve in the freezer and take them out as needed.  No one else could make them, not the way she did. I deeply regret I was never able to learn from her myself or that she is no longer here to make them.  During this time of year I think about her the most and when I make them I think of her and feel like she is right there with me in the kitchen.  

Here is probably my most cherished cookie recipe.  I'm not going to lie, they are pretty finicky to make.  You don't have to make them twisted like I do here but that is part of the joy of these cookies.

Anise Twist Cookies

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp anise extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt


2 cups icing sugar
2 tsp anise extract
enough water or milk to create a runny consistency

  • place sugar, oil, eggs and extract into a bowl and mix well with a fork.  Do not use a mixer for this recipe, it never turns out
  • next add flour, baking powder and salt and mix well with fork until a soft ball of dough begins to come together.  This is the finicky part about this recipe.  Sometimes I need to add more flour, sometimes I don't.  It just depends on the day I guess.
  • Next, start rolling and twisting cookies.  I usually form about a walnut size ball of dough into a dowel and then twist the dowel into the shapes you see here.  you could just roll the ball of dough and then bake them without the twist
  • bake cookies in a 350 oven for 10-12 mins.
  • let them cool completely then glaze the tops of the cookies


  1. these all look so wonderfully delicious!!! You HAVE to open your own shop up oneday Romina <3
    Keep the eye candy coming! so impressive =)