Baking with Bonnie...
...and Chef Michael Smith. I've been working with The Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts for the last little while, and one of Bonnie's top profs shared one of his favourite cookie recipes with me, so I thought I'd share it with you here.
Here's what Michael says about this recipe: "These Austrian-style cookies have a delicate, buttery texture – despite the fact they contain no butter! Even those who claim to hate the flavour of licorice should be won over by the subtle anise flavour in these cookies. Feel free to experiment with your favourite spices in this recipe!"
Did you get that? A) no butter, and B) Chef Michael is giving us all the green light to play with the spices, so, I'm thinking pumpkin spices - clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Ooooh, or how about just a wee hint of cardamom? Or Chai spices?!...black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, anise? I shall make some and report back.
Here's the recipe, I hope you have fun playing with the spicing! And, please don't be intimidated by the call for a piping bag; I suspect you could spoon the batter and smooth it out or simply cut the corner off a freezer bag and use it as a piping bag.
Anise Drop Cookies
3 free run eggs
1 cup + 2tbsp (225g) sugar
2 cups + 2tbsp (245g) cake flour
1 tbsp (15ml) ground anise
½ tsp (2.5ml) baking powder
½ tsp (2.5ml) salt
½ tsp (2.5ml) vanilla
Prepare sheet pans by lining them with parchment or silpat.
In a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, begin whipping the whole eggs on medium speed (#4) for 1-2 minutes.Once the eggs are foamy, begin to slowly add the sugar with the machine running on medium.
When all of the sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla, continue whipping on medium-high speed (#6) for approximately 10 minutes.The eggs should be very light in colour and about tripled in volume, but there should be no visibly large air bubbles.
Meanwhile, while the eggs are whipping, sift together the flour, anise, baking powder and salt.Set aside.
Add the sifted dry ingredients to the whipped eggs, and mix on low speed (#2) for 1 minute.Scrape down the bowl and mix for 1 more minute on low.
Fit a piping bag with a plain round tip (#802 or #804). Pipe small rounds of batter, about 1.5” in diameter, leaving about 1.5” space in between. Allow the piped cookies to dry for at least 4 hours (but no longer than 8).
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325F.
After 4 hours the cookies should feel dry to the touch.If they are still sticky, allow them to dry for at least 1 hour more.Once dry, bake @ 325F for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until they release from the paper.
Cool completely and serve.The baked cookies may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 5 days.The cookies may also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Yield: approx. 3 dozen 1” cookies
Update: I had a little fun with Michael's recipe and switched out the vanilla for maple essence; the anise for 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger powder, and 1/2 cup of Jewels Under the Kilt's maple-cinnamon nut crunch - sort of a crumb or crumble of Ontario-grown nuts, maple syrup and cinnamon. They were a success and far too damn easy to eat. They're light as air, then melt in your mouth, so it's next to impossible to stop popping them!