In communal cooking days, these licorice-flavored Christmas treats could be made at home and then baked in the village bakery.

Anise Cookies

4 eggs
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 ½ cups flour
Dash oil of anise or 1 teaspoon anise extract

Preheat oven to 350°.

Using electric mixer, beat eggs and powdered sugar on high for 10 minutes (in the communal kitchens they did this by hand for 20 minutes). Blend in baking soda, flour, and anise. Roll out dough on floured board to ⅓-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters or pastry wheel. Using the rim of a thumble or the edge of a spoon, pierce tops of cutouts with impressions (tops must be punctured or it will bubble). Place cookies on cookie sheets, cover with clean dish towel, and set in cool, dry place overnight.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned.
Makes about 3 to 4 dozen cookies.

Lina Unglenk and Caroline Zscherny, Amana

Note: Mrs. Unglenk remembers helping her mother make these licorice-flavored Christmas treats. Preparing the batter at home prior to taking it to the village bakery, where all Christmas cookie baking was done in the communal days, Lina and her mother used the brass key from the wall clock to decorate the cookie tops.


This recipe comes from the cookbook Seasons of Plenty: Amana Communal Cooking and was posted with permission of author Emilie Hoppe. Learn more about the book and how to purchase it.