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Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o`clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.

-Al Hutchinson

my husband’s family has very rich winter holiday traditions–many of which have been passed down through generations. having grown up in a family that didn’t celebrate conventional holidays, nor were big on generational traditions, i find the sense of generational connectedness in my husband’s family delightful. among many things, there is a certain german cookie recipe that belongs to my husband’s great-great aunt, daisy. of course, we never had the chance to meet great-great aunt daisy, but we enjoy her cookies every year. i think it’s amazing that a tradition like this cookie recipe has become a part of a winter ritual, and that while we never knew great-great aunt daisy, we share a connection with her through a recipe.

so, for the first time, my husband made the anise cookies. in his family, his father makes the cookies, since the cookies came from his father’s side of the family. there are all sorts of rules about how the cookies are decorated, colors, cutter shapes, etc. since i’m not big on the “traditional” shapes, i bought myself a fleur de leis cookie cutter to frost in white, with white sanding sugar. my husband made evergreen trees, deer, bells, and snowmen.

the anise oil makes my tongue tingle. and it’s somewhat of an aquired taste, but it tastes like a snowy winter, for some reason. and it’s a perfect activity for a cozy afternoon. well, really two cozy afternoons. the cookies are made on the first day, frosted on the second. and i found it harder to frost cookies than i thought!

as an homage to great-great aunt daisy, i plan to make these cookies in the summer as well, using lavender oil. perfect with the fleur de leis cookie cutter i think!

anise cookies

from my husband’s great-grandma burgess’s aunt daisy

2 cups sugar

1 cups shortening

2 eggs

1 cup milk

8 cups flour

1 tsp. cream tarter

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. anise oil

add anise oil to milk. mix alternately with dry ingredients. last has to be mixed by hand. roll out thin (about 1/8 in.). cut in desired shapes and bake at 400° for about 6 minutes or until just faint brown around the edges. let cookies cool before frosting.  frost with butter frosting and while icing is still soft, dip in colored sugar.  makes 8 – 10 dozen cookies. note: cutting recipe in half, still gives a generous amount of dough.

buttercream frosting

in a mixing bowl combine

6 cups powdered wugar

2/3 cup margarine or butter (softened)

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

2 tsp. anise oil

beat with electric mixer or with heavy spoon until smooth and creamy; scrape bowl often. if too stiff to spread easily, beat in a little more milk.