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Sweet Annie Cookies

A Baker and Her Toys



Not so very many years ago as I huffed and puffed and slowly chugged my way up a local mountainside with a group of geriatric hikers a young boy with a large bag full of black licorice trotted by generously offering his candy to fellow hikers. "Would you like some black licorice?" he asked? Only one in this group of 25 chuggers responded, "Yes, please." The young man cheerfully opened his bag, offered up his goods, and continued to trot up the mountainside.

When I finally arrived at the picnic (aka crash and burn) site I saw the young man open his still full bag of black licorice and happily munch on his treat.

His constant banter amused us old people so we began chatting with this generous young man. As it turns out his mother told him that if he was going to pack such a large bag full of candy then he needed to share with his fellow hikers. How nice. Old people love to witness generosity and hear about nice moms who teach their sons well.

The young man went on to explain his view of black licorice and generosity. "The good thing about black licorice," he said, "is very few people like it. I can appear to be generous without actually sharing."

"Bwahaha! I nearly choked on my chicken leg. The young man was not only engaging but clever, as well.

Just moments later I was generous as well but no one congratulated me on my good deeds.

When those black licorice deniers spied my bag of fresh baked chocolate chippers they attacked en force and emptied my cookie stash before I adequately recovered from the chicken leg choking incident to defend myself. They devoured my cookies in a nano second and then began squabbling over the crumbs!

I think I need to talk to that clever young man. He could teach me a thing or two. He appeared generous but had actually given up only a small bite of licorice while I presented as an old scrooge when I did nothing more than drop my lower lip over losing my entire bag of cookies.

So here is a little secret. Sweet Annie cookies are a buttery cookie with a warm, melt in your mouth black licorice flavor that comes from anise seed but they are actually delicious. They are just sweet enough to be a cookie but full of the warmth of a crackling fire on a cold autumn night. These are the cookies you can pack on your hike and offer up as "black licorice cookies." Only a very few people will accept your generous offer. When you reach the crash and burn site at the top of the mountain you will still have a full bag of cookies to enjoy. Win! Win! You get to be named the Generous One AND eat your cookies.

Or you could be truly generous and offer rich buttery anise seed "Sweet Annie" shortbread cookies, full of warmth and great to share.

*sigh* I will share. My Mommy raised me well.

Sweet Annies

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

⅛ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons anise seed

1½ cups butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and anise seed into a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low just until combined.

Use a small sized cookie scoop to form walnut sized cookie balls. Place the balls on a platter and cool in the refrigerator for 45-60 minutes before baking.

When the cookies are chilling prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or a silicone baking mats. Preheat the oven to 425°.

Arrange the chilled cookie balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, 8 -10 balls per sheet.

Bake the cookies 1 tray at a time for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely before serving.

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