Italian Anisette Cookies

You can’t have a true Christmas without these Italian Anisette cookies. They are one of the best!

You can’t have a true Italian Christmas without Italian Anisette Cookies, so of course I had to make like 5 dozen of them. I believe that we have discussed my dislike for anise in the past. It’s sad. I wish I loved the stuff, but I just can’t bring myself to love that licorice taste. I really think that it is an acquired taste, so hopefully (someday), I will learn to love it. For the time being though, I will adjust this recipe by adding other great flavors like vanilla and lemon. By subtracting the anise in Italian Anisette Cookies, these are probably my favorite cookies of the holiday season. Does this count? I’m not quite sure if this is allowed, but I’m going to go with it anyway. These cookies are so puffy, light and airy. This may be because there are like a gazillion teaspoons of baking powder in them, but this is ok. They are just so delicious. Go ahead, make them with anise (or without). Either way, I am 100% sure you will fall in love with them. Oh and the sprinkles (or sugar) are 100% mandatory. There will be no substituting the cuteness these little guys bring to every cookie.

Recipe Fun Facts:

This recipe will make approximately 3-4 dozen cookies. My recipe app makes it difficult to put the exact serving size, so know that you will have a ton of cookies when all is said and done =).

These babies puff up like nobody’s business. I suggest making the cookies on the smaller size.

The consistency of the glaze is important. You want it runny, but you don’t want it to disappear off the cookie when you dip them. You should be able to coat the back of a spoon with the glaze and it should stay.

Beer Love:Beer: Uinta’s Anniversary Ale: American Barley Wine Ale
Brewed By: Uinta Brewing
Style: Barley Wine Ale
ABV: 10.4%
IBU: 72
Description: Barley Wines are great around the holidays. They are perfect before dinner with your favorite cheeses or antipasti; or they are the perfect after dinner sipping beer. This makes them a great pairing with desserts and sweets. You get hints of chocolate and fruit while enjoying this brew. It is on the stronger end of the spectrum though, so be careful!

Enjoy your weekends everyone!

Italian Anisette Cookies

Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes
Servings: 20 cookies


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (more as needed)
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp anise extract (or vanilla, lemon, etc)
  • holiday sprinkles or decorative sugars
  • 2 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp anise extract (or vanilla, lemon, etc) for the glaze
  • 2 tbsp half and half


  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter and shortening over low heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Add the melted butter and shortening to the bowl of your stand mixer and add the sugar. Mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Add each egg, one at a time, until they are incorporated. Add the anise extract (or vanilla; or lemon) and mix again until combined.
  • In half cup increments, add the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix to combine until a soft dough forms. The dough will be soft, but still manageable. If it isn''t manageable (where you can work it into a teaspoon-sized ball without making a mess), add tablespoons (one at a time) of flour until you reach this consistency.
  • Once your dough is ready, pinch of pieces of dough and roll into 3/4 - 1 inch balls. Place the balls on your baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-8 minutes until they just begin to brown on the bottoms and just begin to crack slightly on top. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat this step for the rest of your dough.
  • While your cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the confectioner''s sugar, anise extract (or vanilla; or lemon) and half and half. You want the glaze to be on the heavier side.
  • When your cookies have cooled completely, dip the top of each cookie in the glaze and place back on the wire rack to set. Decorate with sprinkles or sugar immediately before the glaze hardens.
  • Store in an airtight container for a week or two. Enjoy!

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  1. Wendy December 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm Reply

    Great collection of cookie recipes for the holidays. I do like anise flavor but I think it is an acquired taste. I live about 40 miles from Grand Rapids Michigan which was voted Craft Beer City U.S.A this year. I live in Muskegon Michigan which is nicknamed The Beer Tent city. I love beer but don’t drink nearly as much as I used to( I guess old age!) Love your site and the great pairings with the delicious recipes!

    • Justine Sulia December 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm Reply

      Thanks Wendy! Ya know, I have never been to the state of Michigan, and I know that they have some really great beer there (especially in the Grand Rapids area). I especially love Founders, which unfortunately we can’t get here in Colorado =(. Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy the recipes! Happy Holidays!

  2. Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic December 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm Reply

    These are some of my all-time favorite cookies, and I’ve never seen them blogged about before, so I am very impressed!! Anise is indeed an acquired taste, and many people never really acquire it, so don’t worry about it. This exact same cookie flavored with lemon is equally good, if not better. Happy holidays!

    • Justine Sulia December 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm Reply

      Aw thank you Nora! You are such a sweetheart. I hope you have a great holiday season as well!

  3. Kristi January 3, 2014 at 9:42 pm Reply

    Stupid Lemon Cookies. :D I love these!!!!!!!! These were a childhood favorite!! :D My grandma used to make these in a pin curl. I’ve been asking my mother to makes them or give me the recipe for years and she hasn’t. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING!!! As soon as I have some time I’m making these! :D :D :D

    • Justine Sulia January 4, 2014 at 12:56 pm Reply

      Kristi – Don’t you just hate when your mother won’t give you a recipe!? This happens to me all the time! You’re so welcome. I hope you love them ;). – Justine

  4. jerzee tomato January 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm Reply

    the ones without anise are called anginetti aka lemon drops
    the ones without care called anisette cookies or anise cookies
    the dough recipe is the same the name and flavor pretty much up to the baker.

  5. marla April 30, 2014 at 9:58 am Reply

    Addictive! try it withe other flavorings if you don’t like anisette(suggest – vanilla/coconut/almond/rum/lemon to name a few)

  6. Lisa Theo December 11, 2014 at 8:39 pm Reply

    My grandmother (Nonnie) use to make these for every special occasion. Her recipe uses almond and vanilla extract in the dough and lemon in the icing. We call them Tatalutz (tetalootz) and I have not met a person, Italian or not, who doesn’t love them!! Wonderful childhood memories are recalled with the smell of these cookies baking in the oven.

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer December 12, 2014 at 11:24 am Reply

      Thank you for sharing this, Lisa, and I ADORE the idea of using almond and vanilla extract in the dough and lemon in the icing, It’s like the best of both worlds! Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

      • runningirl04 March 3, 2015 at 11:21 pm Reply

        My family calls them tatalutzes too! ( :

    • Jane Gramza December 19, 2015 at 10:41 am Reply

      I absolutely love the taste of anise & yes I am Italian!! These cookies bring back such wonderful memories of a much simpler life. Sitting in grandma’s kitchen eating these delightful gems! My kitchen smells like memories!

  7. tifygodess24 December 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm Reply

    Thank you for this recipe! It came out perfect. For years I have tried to replicate this cookie with no success. A family friend made these cookies every year and sadly passed away before I could get her recipe. Out of all the recipes I have tried ( it’s been close to 20 ) this was by far the best and the closest to the original. Perfect dough , consistency and flavor. This will now be my go to for this cookie! Delicious!

    • Justine@Cooking and Beer December 29, 2014 at 8:24 am Reply

      That makes me so happy! Thank you so much for trying out the recipe and enjoying it so much. It’s definitely one of my favorites! I’m so sorry to hear about your family friend, but I’m happy that this cookie was able to stand up to the challenge! Thanks again and I hope you have a wonderful new year!

  8. Jacqueline Audette November 3, 2019 at 9:19 pm Reply

    Hello, the recipe for these Italian Anisette cookies is missing.😪 I used to have yours from a few years ago, but lost it when upgrading my phone..🤦‍♀️ I think I remember, but like to have it on hand to be sure. I would be so grateful if you Could Please Repost. Thank you very much and keep up the great Recipes, I try many of them!

  9. Liz November 5, 2019 at 9:11 pm Reply

    The recipe seems to have disappeared…it’s a favorite, is it still available somewhere?