Monday, December 9, 2013

Lithuanian Anise Cookies

I wrote this about 3 years ago on my personal blog and wanted to share it here as it is one of the Christmas cookies I try to make every year. My mother's side is Lithuanian and I grew up LOVING these cookies. Hope you enjoy them as much as my family has throughout the years!

Anise Cookies

The first thing you need is a bottle of Anise Oil. Not easy to find. We had to special order it from a family run pharmacy in Downtown Charlottesville. It came in the very next day, most impressive!

Then next thing you need is some inspiration and motivation. Enter the first snow of the year:

This was the view from my kitchen:

And finally you need a small army of strong women. I gathered everyone in the family I could:


6 eggs
3 cups sugar
2 cups mazola (corn) oil
14 cups flour sifted (yes you read that right)
1 tsp. salt
2.5 tsp baking soda
2.5 tsp baking powder
2 cups sour milk or buttermilk (*I will keep you updated if I can find a dairy-free option!)
3/4 tsp anise oil

And the directions verbatim from "Aunt Nell:"
1. Beat eggs well. Add sugar and mix well. Add oil and beat well. Add milk and anise oil.
2. Sift 4 cups flour and to this add baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Add dry ingredients (#2) to step #1 liquid mixture. (Just the 4 cups flour to start)

4. Add more flour to make a soft dough (about 10 more cups). 1 cup of this should be used on board to knead at the end. Use beater until it becomes too thick: (I got 7 cups of flour in. You know it is too thick because your red Kitchen aid mixer will start to smell like burning and will be hot to the touch! eek!)
...then use heavy spoon. (This lasted for one more cup of flour =8 then I gave up)...

...then knead it as a dough. Becomes heavier as your progress. Knead it well. (This is where the army of strong women starts to pay off. Thank God I have had a baby to carry around as an upper arm workout.)

5. Take about the size of a walnut and roll in had into string and put together in a circle. Make hole rather big as it closes up when baked. (This was very time intensive, really wishing I had army of women at this point)

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes on greased cookie sheet. Turn pan in oven after 8 min. (I don't know why but I'm sure they wrote that for a reason so I did it)

Then you get this, but you aren't done yet!

Icing for Anise Cookies:

1/2 box powdered sugar (AKA 2 cups)
1 tablespoon butter melted
boiling water
a couple drops of anise oil (to taste)
You will use about 1 box powdered sugar for whole recipe. It is best to start with this 1/2 recipe or it becomes hard until you ice all the cookies (true that).

Leave icing in bowl and dip cookies one at a time. Dip upside down and blow hole so it opens then take spoon and remove whatever runs down on sides.

Now here is the thing. They don't specify how much boiling water. Or what to do with ingredients. Basically you get a small bowl and melt the butter then add the powdered sugar. Then you add the boiling water and mix until it is not too thick or too thin. I topped it off with 2 drops of anise oil at the end. You just have to get a feel for it. You want some transparency but not too here are what mine looked like:

I got a little fancy and added some extra flair by flinging extra frosting all over:

Is it worth the work? YES. Husband and friend approved. Makes enough to mail to family for Christmas, and take to 2 Christmas parties, and eat some everyday for a week. :) Now all you need is a shot of Veritas and you are a true Lithuanian!


  1. I love this reading! So funny. I want to be part of your growing army of women the next time you attempt to make these <3 Love, Mom

  2. I'm going to make these for the office Christmas party this year. I live in Honolulu and I'm always looking for ways to show off my Lithuanian heritage. Everyone here thinks it's so exotic!