These are a family favorite that I think are a mix between a traditional Italian easter cookie, spanish cookie, and Moroccan cookie. I grew up thinking were super hard to make, but started making them all of the time now that I'm at college.
I know you may be thinking what is Anise Seed? Anise Seed looks like this and tastes similarly to a fennel seed, but has a subtle black licorice flavor (for all of you that didn't grow up on black licorice, don't be turned off by that description). They can be pretty expensive, but I've found that they sell them at Macey's Grocery store in a little packet for like $.69.
I researched Anise seed and found that it is used basically everywhere, except the United States. It is believed to relieve menstrual cramps, help with digestion, and a cure for insomnia. In India, they just chew the seeds after dinner and in the middle east they put about a tablespoon of them in hot water and drink it as tea. Basically, it's an incredible herb.
Anise Seed Cookies:
3/4 cup water
1 pkg of Anise seeds (julia's seasonings) or 3 tbs.
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup oil
1/8 cup sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a standard cookie sheet.
2. In a small saucepan, boil water and add seeds. Let the seeds cook for about 20 minutes.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Zest the orange and add the zest to the dry mixture.
4. In a tall glass or jar, combine the milk and oil. Add the juice from the orange. Stir so the liquid is mixed.
5. Add the cooked anise seed to the dry mixture and mix well. Then slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well. (I typically end up kneading the dough)
*If the mixture is too wet or too dry, add a little more flower or mix equal parts of oil and milk and add.
6. Then, take about 2 tbs of dough and roll into a snake. Pick it up and twist the dough from the middle out. Or you can twist the dough so that it makes a breast cancer awareness ribbon shape. Or you can twist it into a traditional knot. Place on cookie sheet
7. Beat an egg and thinly brush on top of the cookies. Then, with a spoon sprinkle sugar on top of the cookies.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are solid.
9. Eat with milk and Enjoy!
I end up freezing most of the cookies just so I don't eat them all in one sitting. :)