T hese aniseed flavoured slightly crunchy cookies are shaped like pretzels. My cookie book tells me that these holiday cookies are great for serving at parties, giving as gifts or for hanging on the Christmas tree.
This recipe is from Cookies Step-By-Step Techniques from Sunset. The original recipe calls for eggs which I have substituted with flax seed. I usually run about 6 to 8 tbsps of flax seed in the small jar of my mixer/ grinder to powder it. I store this powder in the fridge for when I need it. I have given the ingredients as given in the recipe with my adaptations within brackets.
I liked these cookies, but both my husband and daughter didn’t seem to like them very much. A part of the reason could be that anise seed is not something they particularly like. One thing both of them said was that the cookies were not sweet enough, though I thought the sugar was enough. So you might want to increase the sugar according to your taste.
1 cup butter, softened (I used salted butter)
½ cup sugar
2 eggs (I used 2 tbsp flax seed powder + 4 tbsp water)
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp anise extract (I omitted this)
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water (for brushing pretzels- I omitted this)
1 to 2 tbsp anise seeds (I used 1 ½ tbsp coarsely crushed aniseed)
Beat the butter and sugar till creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition till well combined. I used a flaxseed- water mixture and added this at this point. I ran 2 tbsp of flax seed powder with 4 tbsp water in the small jar of my mixer/ blender till well blended. Beat in the anise extract at this point, if using it. I omitted this because I didn’t have the extract.
Gradually add the flour and the crushed anise seeds, blending well into a dough. I used less than the specified amount of anise seed as I didn’t want an over-powering smell and taste. I also coarsely crushed the seeds to release the flavour.
Divide the dough into two and roll each half into a log 2 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until the dough is easy to handle.
Take the dough out, and work on one log at a time. Cut each log into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 14” long rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Place on greased baking sheets about an inch apart and brush with the beaten egg-water mixture and lightly sprinkle the anise seeds. I didn’t use this glaze and brushed the pretzels with plain water. This would explain the slightly paler brown colour of baked my pretzels.
Bake at 170C for 20 to 30 minutes till light golden in colour and firm to touch. Cool on racks and store in airtight tins. This recipe makes 2 dozen pretzels.