Italian anisette cookies or anise cookies are a traditional Italian cookie with a "black licorice" flavor from pure anise extract, a fragrant flavoring made from star anise. These vegan anise cookies are tender with a soft crumb, and have a sweet vanilla anise glaze adorned with rainbow nonpareils. The cookies are often on Italian Christmas cookie tables, but they are made all year round.
📕 The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur
These cookies are one of the new recipes in the 2016 paperback re-release of my first cookbook, The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. On the outside, the new book has a new cover design featuring one of the original book's classic recipes, Lemon Poppyseed Cookies.
On the inside, the book contains all of your favorite recipes from the hardcover original, along with a foreword written by Natalie Slater of Bake and Destroy, and a new chapter containing 8 new recipes!
Which book to get?
Trying to decide which version of the book to buy? The 2016 paperback has everything the original does, word for word, plus the foreword and new recipes. So, yes, it is worth getting the new book if you already own the original!
Also, the original VCC contains "over 140 recipes" while the new version contains "over 120 recipes." Disregard this—the new book actually has more recipes that the "over 140 recipes" version.
As mentioned, there are 8 new recipes in the book. Many of the new recipes utilize chickpea water, or aquafaba, to make a vegan-friendly meringue, a technique we didn't know about until a couple of years ago! I've published several aquafaba-based recipes like Vegan Lucky Charms, Lemon Meringue Pie, Aquafaba Whiskey Sour, and Hawaiian Bread.
It's quite possible that VCC is the first published work to reference aquafaba (don't quote me on that unless you find out that it's true and it probably is)! Aquafaba can be used to make meringue-based desserts like meringue cookies, Swiss buttercream, macaroons, and French macarons. In fact, VCC has a recipe contributed by the Vegan Macaron Queen herself, Charis Mitchell of Floral Frosting.
Okay, now back to the cookies! These anise cookies are so easy to make, and are a unique addition to the dessert table.
Although anise (or black licorice) can be a divisive "love it or hate it" flavor, I find that baking it into a cookie softens the strong flavor. It's easy to pop a few of these cookies in your mouth every time you walk by the cookie tray.
- Vegan butter
- Vegetable shortening
- Non-dairy milk (any kind)
- Baking powder
- Anise extract
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
- Vegan nonpareils
For the cookies:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cream together the margarine, shortening, and sugar in a stand mixer or by hand in a large mixing bowl.
Add the applesauce, milk, and anise extract, and stir until combined.
Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until a dough forms.
Take 2 tablespoon portions of dough and place on a prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-13 mins or until the tops are firm and the bottoms are golden.
For the glaze:
While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze.
Combine the melted margarine, non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl.
Stir in the powdered sugar until smooth.
Drizzle a spoonful of glaze over each cookie.
Add a pinch of sprinkles on top. Let the glaze set before serving.
These anise cookies would be fantastic with these recipes:
This vegan kale pesto is blended with fresh garlic, pine nuts, cashew parmesan, and olive oil for a savory, delicious winter-friendly pesto!
This vegan gnocchi is made with Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes, and dyed with spinach and tomato for an all-natural rainbow of pasta!
You can never have too many rainbow cookies! These vegan Italian Rainbow Cookies or "seven layer bars" or "Napoleon cookies" are made of three layers of almond cake spread with apricot jam, and coated in chocolate.
- ⅓ cup vegan butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons applesauce
- ¼ cup non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon anise extract
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
For the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cream together the margarine, shortening, and sugar in a stand mixer or by hand in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the applesauce, milk, and anise extract, and stir until combined.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until a dough forms.
- Take 2 tablespoon portions of dough and place on a prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12-13 mins or until the tops are firm and the bottoms are golden.
For the glaze:
- While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze.
- Combine the melted margarine, non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl.
- Stir in the powdered sugar until smooth.
- Drizzle a spoonful of glaze over each cookie.
- Add a pinch of sprinkles on top. Let the glaze set before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 105mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 1g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on seitanbeatsyourmeat.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.
If you liked this recipe, consider purchasing a copy of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur on Amazon for yourself or for a gift!
This recipe was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for formatting. The recipe has not changed.