Today’s recipe is another German favourite, the incredibly cute looking aniseed cookies that are Anispläzchen. These are tiny cookies that look rather like miniature macarons, but they are made with whole eggs and flour rather than just egg whites and almonds. Apart from that, it’s a similar process – whip the eggs and sugar, add flour and aniseed, then pipe onto a baking sheet.
These cookies have a crisp outside and soft interior, and a delicate aniseed flavour which gets a little stronger if you can keep them in a tin for a couple of days. They’re simple, but I think they look rather pretty.
Now, if you’re taken by these, I do need to warn you that I got about a 55% “hit” rate in getting those little feet under the cookies. The rest…well, they tasted perfectly nice, but the went a little wonky. Perfectly edible, but wonky. So if you need dozens and dozens that need to turn out picture-perfect…you might want to make a couple of batches!
To make Anisplätzchen (makes around 40):
• 100g icing sugar
• 1 medium egg
• 100g plain flour
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon ground aniseeds, crushed
1. In a bowl whisk the eggs until foamy (1 minute). Add the icing sugar and whisk until pale, thick and fluffy (5 minutes). Mix in the vanilla extract and ground aniseed.
2. Remove two tablespoons of flour and put to one side. Add half of the remaining flour and whisk to mixture. Add the other half and whisk again. The mixture should be thick and look a little bit dry and slightly grainy, but when you put a drop of mixture on a tray, it should go smooth on top. If the mixture is too wet, add more of the reserved flour until the texture is right.
3. Spread out 2 sheets of greaseproof paper. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe small circles of the batter (2cm diameter). Leave in a warm place to dry for an hour. The surface should be dull and matt when ready.
4. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Bake the biscuits for 10-15 minutes until the biscuits have developed “feet” but the tops are still pale.