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Anise and Orange Cookies

(Makes about 36 cookies)
Anise and Orange Cookies

2-1/2 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup whole milk
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
2 tablespoons orange juice
1-1/2 teaspoon anise extract

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons orange juice
5 to 6 teaspoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon anise extract

Colored sprinkles


To make the cookies:
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In another bowl, combine the eggs and sugar.  With an electric mixer, beat until the eggs thicken and become pale, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the olive oil, milk, zest, juice, and extract.  Beat just to combine the ingredients.  Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low to blend.  Add the remaining flour and beat again.  The dough will be soft and slightly sticky.  Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll teaspoons of dough into small balls about 1-inch in diameter. 
Place the balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned and have cracks.
The dough will almost double in size during baking.  Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets.  Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the icing:
Combine the icing ingredients in a small bowl with an electric mixer.
Add more milk if necessary until the icing is the consistency of heavy cream.

Dip the tops of the cookies in the icing and set them on wire racks.
Dust them with the colored sprinkles.

These cookies are best if made a day ahead.
They will keep well at room temperature in a sealed container for several days.
These traditional Italian cookies have a cake-like texture and a mild anise flavor.  They are glazed with a delicate icing and topped with colorful candy sprinkles.  Iced anise cookies are a traditional in many Italian homes for holidays and special occasions.
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