A few months ago I was reading through my Italian cookie cookbook and found there were quite a few recipes which use aniseed extract.
Great, my husband loves aniseed and liquorice flavoured things so I thought it would be a lovely treat for him to make him something with these flavours and I began to look about in shops for aniseed or anise extract to use. Unfortunately, it seemed to be a very elusive product to buy in a store, so much so that the only way I was going to get it was to buy online or make my own. Usually I’m a big fan of online shopping as you can always get what you need at a cheap price, but this time I found I was having difficulty. There were two problems: there weren’t many shops selling and the shops that did sell it only sold in bulk orders. I was left with only one viable option and that was to make it myself. Luckily I had bought some star anise a while ago from Stratford upon Avon which I always thought would come in handy (but I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it). Making it was very simple just add star anise and vodka and ta-dah, you’re own extract after waiting just 3 months. What?! 3 MONTHS! I’m not exactly the most patient person but I had no choice so in July I bottled it up and waited…until October. If you’ve been following my life you’ll realise that October was a pretty eventful month as my baby decided it was time to make her appearance into the world. Unsurprisingly, I never got round to using my extract until now, 6 months after I started it.
I decided to make some Italian anise cookies with it for my husband and I’m really pleased with it. I’m glad after all that time it was worth the wait.
Anise/Aniseed extract Half fill a small air tight jar with Star Anise then pour enough good quality vodka to cover them completely. Put the lid on and leave for at least 3 months. Every week (ish) give the jar a gentle shake but do not open till its ready. Its useful to write the date on you started it so you don’t forget.
Italian Anise and Almond cookies I used this fab recipe to make the cookies – Anise and Almond Cookies They are very authentic Italian in their taste and look very home made when finished, but I think that’s what gives them charm. I made the cookies without the flavour, then split the batch into two and added the aniseed extract to half and flavoured the other half with Almond. The pink ones are Anise and the purple ones with glitter are Almond.