Anise Snaps (Licorice Cookies)

These old fashioned Anise Snaps are a rare treat.  Soft, buttery cookies with a hint of licorice flavor offer something a bit different for the cookie plate.

These old fashioned Anise Snaps are a rare treat. Soft, buttery cookies with a hint of licorice flavor offer something a bit different for the cookie plate.

I don’t like black licorice at all so I was hesitant to even try these cookies.  However, good friends insisted they were not only great cookies but some of their personal favorites.  In the spirit of being adventurous about food I gave them a try and was totally captivated.

The Anise Snaps were buttery and chewy with just a hint of crunch on the outside from the sugar.  The flavor was light and fragrant like some exotic spice.  There was just a hint of licorice flavor and it was absolutely perfect.  I had never had anything like them.  It was easy to see why they had become favorite cookies for so many people.

I have been passing them out this past week and they meet with rave reviews everywhere.  The flavor is old fashioned in a lovely way and a perfect addition to your baking list!

I always love to hear from you.  What cookies are you baking up this Christmas?  What are your favorites?

Tools In This Post:  Anise seed is available in most grocery stores with the spices.  You can also order it on Amazon if you like.

Anise extract is also usually found with the spices.  I use McCormick because I like the quality.  Just make sure to order the extract and not the oil.

Love unique cookies?  These soft and chewy Almond cookies are some of my all time favorites!

These rich, buttery, almond cookies are moist and chewy every time. They are one of my all time favorite cookies!

Anise Snaps (Licorice Cookies)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 60
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ tsp. anise extract
  • 1 Tbsp. anise seeds
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl as needed.
  2. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the egg, anise extract, and anise seed. Scrape the bowl again.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
  4. With the mixer on low speed slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat until the dough is well combined.
  5. Chill the dough for two hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly butter two cookie sheets.
  7. Use a melon baller to form small balls of dough and roll in granulated sugar to evenly coat. Place balls of dough on greased baking sheets and bake at 350 F for 10-11 minutes until the cookies are starting to set and just becoming golden at the edges.
  8. Let cool on the baking sheets for five minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

This recipe is participating in Weekend Potluck!

These old fashioned Anise Snaps are a rare treat. Soft, buttery cookies with a hint of licorice flavor offer something a bit different for the cookie plate.Recipe Credit:  Special thanks to Elizabeth Barrett and family for sharing their wonderful recipe for this classic.  I have not adapted the recipe at all.  It is an honor to get to share and preserve a classic recipe like this that should not get lost over time!

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2 thoughts on “Anise Snaps (Licorice Cookies)

  1. Hi Mirlandra,

    I signed up again because I haven’t been receiving your posts for some reason. I wanted to say that I grew up with my mother’s German Christmas cookies. She made sugar cookies with no baking powder and with a very thin colored glaze, cookies with ground walnuts shaped with a cookie press and one end of the cookies dipped in chocolate, 3-tiered cookies with jam placed in an indentation in the center and sprinkled with powdered sugar, meringue cookies, sandies which are like the wedding/Danish/Mexican cookies except they were shaped into half moons and last but not least, Anise cookies! But the recipe was different from this one, they were small but shaped like the chocolate covered cookies with the marshmellow inside, know what I mean? They looked like they had a dome on top but no chocolate. After baking she’d set them on the counter overnight uncovered. They’d get super hard but then she’d store them in a covered container for 2 or 3 weeks until they softened somewhat. They were never really too soft but oh my goodness, that smell and taste of anise was divine! I loved them. Unfortunately, she passed away too early in 2000 and my siblings and I never got her recipes because she was still baking and sending them to us every Christmas. I’m really sad about that although I do have her sugar cookie recipe.

    • You are the 2nd reader this week to check in! I have not been sending a newsletter out (busy getting recipes out before the holidays and the we were traveling). I’m trying to shoot one out this week! It is on my list for today but along with about 25 other things and a busy toddler who wants about 110% of my attention after getting a ton of attention from his relatives over Christmas. I have a friend who is German and lives here now. I will drop her a note today and see if she has a recipe like this. I feel like she made something similar for our book club two years back! If I get anything I will shoot you an e-mail!

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