Crispy edges with a softer center, these Meyer Lemon Anise cookies are great to make for Christmas or any time of year. Loaded with anise seeds and fresh zest, this re-worked recipe is full of flavor. We have an optional Meyer Lemon glaze you can use as well. Add some Christmas sprinkles to give them some holiday flare.
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Nothing says Christmas like cookies. One can never have too many cookie recipes.
A decade ago I introduced the Meyer Lemon Anise cookie to the blog. I felt this year it was time for a remake. I knew we could pack some more flavor into this cookie.
When I first posted about this cookie in 2010, it was a very different recipe. I had mainly taken Martha Stewart's recipe and made some minor tweaks like adding Meyer lemon zest to the dough. Martha is credited with making the Meyer lemon variety famous.
That recipe, while good, was missing the butter that I so love in cookies. Plus I wanted something that wasn't just crispy. I don't see why we can't have crispy edges and a soft middle. It was time to head back to the drawing board and come up with a cookie that fit my tastes better.
But if you still want that original recipe, I have it for you below. It's still good if you want a butter-less cookie that is very crispy.
- 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground anise seeds I grind them in a coffee grinder
- the zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- coarse sugar for sprinkling
- Place your eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed.
- Then slowly add the sugar while the mixer is running.
- When all the sugar is added turn up the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick, for about 10 minutes.
- In the mean time, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, freshly ground anise seeds (use already ground if you must), and lemon zest.
- When the sugar/egg mixture is ready, slowly dump in the flour mixture on low speed. Mix until just combined, you don't want to over mix.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- The dough will be on the soft side. It's not easy to scoop like chocolate chip cookie dough, so your best bet is to pipe the cookies using a gallon sized plastic bag with a pipping tip attached. Pipe the cookies onto a sheet pan lined with parchment (lightly sprayed) or a Slipat. For more crisp cookies, try to keep the cookies small.
- Sprinkle some coarse sugar on top of the cookies right before you put them in the oven.
- Bake the cookie until firm about 10-12 minutes. I would recommend checking after 5 minutes. Keep in mind, every oven is different, so it's best to find what works for you in regards to baking time.
For the new recipe I took my inspiration from my wife's grandma. Her sugar cookie recipe is beloved by the family. I started with that recipe as a jumping off point. I reduced the flour needed as I was not rolling out these cookies. I added zest from a Meyer lemon and 1 tablespoon of anise seeds (or the similar fennel seeds).
Here is what you will need from the store for this recipe.
Let us take you step by step through making these cookies.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, start by creaming the butter and sugar together.
I start with butter that has been softened, Leaving the butter out for a while to get to room temperature will help. Mix the butter first, then add in the sugar.
Mix them until well combined.
Then add in the eggs, salt, buttermilk, baking soda, lemon zest, and anise seeds. Mix them until well combined.
Slowly add in the flour, 1 cup at a time, so flour doesn't go all over the place.
You are just looking for a scoopable dough. You may need to tweak it by ½ cup or so. A lot depends on the weather - is it dry or humid outside?
I used an 1 ½ inch or 1 tablespoon disher to scoop out the cookie.
Set your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 13 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. This will produce a cookie that is crispy around the edges with still a bit of softness in the middle.
I recommend chilling the dough before baking so the cookies don't spread too much.
You could eat the cookies as is or make a delicious glaze. Since you still have the lemon left from recipe as you only need the zest. You can combine the juice of the lemon with enough powdered sugar to form a glaze.
Another option would be to roll the cookies with coarse sugar before baking or sprinkle them on top after baking.
Have you heard of the pan banging craze? Just look up the hashtag #panbanging to see all the deliciousness. The idea is that while the cookies are baking, you open the oven and pick up and drop the pan back down (wearing an oven mitt of course!). What this does is create a ripple effect in the cookie, that not only looks good but makes for a cookie with more crispiness around the edges and a soft center.
It doesn't always work with every recipe out there. I wanted to try to see how it would do with mine. The results?
Not great. I did get some small ridges forming in the cookie but not as much as I have seen with other recipes. Even after chilling the dough, they still spread too fast to get a lot of deep ripples. I could re-work the recipe to work better for pan banging, but that will have to wait for a future blog post.
You are free to give it a try yourself with this recipe, maybe your pan banging skills are better than mine. I did have better results when I baked the cookies on foil instead of parchment, but the cookies were harder to remove from the foil.
If you are going to try with this recipe try it with White Lily or Gold Medal all-purpose flour as they have a lower protein content than King Arthur Flour.
- 4 ½ minutes or when the cookies begin to spread, start banging, every 90 seconds
- 13 total minutes bake time at 350 degrees
I also double the size of each cookie, so I did two scoops of a 1 tablespoon disher or 2 tablespoons of dough.
I will continue to try the pan banging method with my cookie recipes on the blog and report on the results.
For some really good pan banging cookies recipes, check out Sarah Kieffer's 100 Cookies book.
More Cookie Recipes to Try
Check out all of our Christmas cookies.
Meyer Lemon Anise Cookies
- Add the butter to a bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until smooth.
- Add in the sugar. Mix until combined.
- Add in the lemon zest, anise seeds, kosher salt, eggs, buttermilk, and baking soda. Mix until combined.
- Add 1 cup of flour to the bowl. Mix and the add another once it's incorporated. Add in another ½ cup of flour. If the dough is scoopable it's done. Add another ½ cup of flour if you think it needs it.
- Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge. Make sure to cover the bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Scoop out about 1 TBS worth of dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Evenly space no more than 8 cookies on the pan.
- Bake for 13 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Repeat until you have baked all the cookies.
- Allow the cookies to rest on the pan for 1 minute before removing the sheet with the cookies on it to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Bake the cookies for 4 ½ minutes or until the cookies begin to spread. Then pick up and drop the pan onto the rack in the oven. The center will drop.
- Repeat every 90 seconds til the center of the cookies no longer drops or the edges are beginning to brown.
- 13 total minutes bake time at 350 degrees
- Juice the 1 lemon that you used for the zest.
- Slowly stir in powdered sugar until it has the consistency of a glaze. You should need around 1 cup. I also add a pinch of salt.
- Using a fork, drizzle the glaze over the cookie. Add sprinkles if you like. Give the glaze 15-30 minutes to harden some.