It was a cookie-filled weekend yielding a cookie-filled belly. It’s a good thing I re-succumbed to yoga. I had high hopes of going cookie-hog-wild this year, but still only somehow tackled two varieties (I was tied up working on the bear latch hook rug, har-har).
The varieties that made the cut (I’m full of puns today) were: Mom’s Anise Cutouts, and Faux Girl Scout Samoas.
Anise Cutout Cookies:
Mom’s recipe is actually a secret family blend passed down from her Grandma, but I somehow coerced her to let me share it here (we don’t like secrets, we’d even share our baked beans recipe); I’ve never actually come across anyone else making anise-infused cutouts in my cookie-loving travels, so if you’re looking for something classic with a little licorice twist this holiday season, try this recipe. It can be cut in half quite easily – I followed it exactly and made 125 average-sized cutouts.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 pound lard (Mom’s key ingredient, try not to think about how much fat that is.)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
3-5 drops anise oil to taste (Taste the unbaked mixture if you dare. I did.)
8 cups flour (Start with 7 cups and add until the dough is elastic and holds together)
8 tsp baking powder
Frosting: Powdered sugar, crisco, and hot water
- Cream together the sugar, lard, butter, eggs and milk.
- Add the flour and baking powder. Add anise.
- Divide into workable sections and roll it out on a floured surface. Punch out your cookies and transfer them to a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray.
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes @350 degrees
- Make Frosting: combine powdered sugar, a little crisco, and a little hot water to form a spreadable but elastic mixture. I add a few drops of anise to this too, just to add a bite of flavor. Be your own judge on the proportions based on how many cookies you made.
I used the same food coloring that we used to make the rainbow cupcakes and pink rice krispie treats; we think it’s originally from Williams-Sonoma, and the most potent dye I’ve ever used. Dinosaurs were the stars of the show, although I did some snowflakes and candy canes just to keep people happy.
Next up, Faux-Samoas Happiness:
The second batch of cookies I made were inspired by the Girl Scouts and reinterpreted by fun foodie Nicole at Baking Bites. Her’s are way prettier than mine (chocolate melting issues 3x over made me give up trying to make it hot enough to be flowy)… but they still taste great.
Quite simply, the recipe was published as follows. I’m not going to repost all the steps and specifics, but if you have these basic ingredients and like yourself some samoas as much as I do, head over to Nicole’s post to get all of the details.
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
3 cups shredded coconut
12-oz chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
8-oz dark or semisweet chocolate