Auntie Mella’s Italian Soft Anise Cookies

With a cake-like interior, glazed and sprinkled tops, and delicate licorice flavor, these easy Italian Soft Anise Cookies are a family favorite.

I feel like I am supposed to say that the foods I remember most from my childhood were prepared from memory by my grandmother over the course of an entire Sunday, pressing pinches of love onto my cheek with one hand while she stirred and stirred the contents of a bubbling kettle with the other. I could try to make my memories fit, but it just wouldn’t be true. It’s not that my family doesn’t cook; it’s just that we don’t cook “like that.”

In truth, the foods I remember most were store-bought bagels, crisp and buttery from the toaster on tiny white paper plates, and any kind of macaroni — especially Mama Rosie’s cheese-stuffed ravioli with milk and garlic bread. The ravioli was frozen, but the 2-inch high mound of parmesan on top was always fresh, grated by hand from a wedge in the fridge.

I still love bagels and macaroni, but because I can get them anytime, they don’t conjure up a memory sigh. The things that do are rare — the foods that only came out once or twice a year at family parties. Auntie Mella’s Italian Cookies are one of those. She was married to my Uncle Artie, my grandfather’s brother, a warm, teasing man who made a game of standing right next to me when I was small, but looking over my head and asking the room “Where’s Aimee?” while I jumped up and down, waving my hands, yelling “I’m right here!”

Uncle Artie on the right, posing with my Papa at our 1992 family picnic.

My mom likes to tell me that he once asked me, the way you do when children are learning the names of relatives, “Do you know who I am?” and I said that I did — that he was Uncle Artie. When Auntie Mella asked me the same question a moment later I said “Sure, you’re Uncle Artie’s friend!”

Technically, I was correct.

Her cookies were firm and perfectly round, like mushrooms, but once bitten revealed a soft, cake-like interior. The tops were coated with a hard, shiny glaze and covered with minute, colored sprinkles. What child can resist the sight of all those sprinkles?

I didn’t recognize the aroma or flavor, but it was not the vanilla, chocolate, or peanut butter cookies I was used to. If I had known the delicate, sweet taste in my mouth was anise (the flavor in black licorice) I might have stuck out my tongue and said I knew I didn’t like it, but I didn’t know, and they had those sprinkles, so I tried one. And I loved it.

I’ve been dreaming of Auntie Mella’s cookies for years. She passed away before I developed my passion for baking, so I never had the chance to tell her how much I loved her cookies and how much they reminded me of being little and underfoot at family parties where all the people I loved were alive and happy and laughing and teasing one another after a baptism, or at our annual summer picnic.

Our annual family summer picnic celebrated its 61st anniversary in 2011 – our last in Saugus.

I tried to make them over the years. Tried to find recipes in tattered secondhand community cookbooks or online, my eyes scanning the list of ingredients and method of shaping and glazing, looking for something I recognized, but none of them ever looked or tasted right. None of them were Auntie Mella’s.

Then, last weekend, I tried again. Unlike the other times, I updated my Facebook status with my plan, and a half hour later my mom called. She had the recipe I was looking for. Auntie Mella’s daughter, my mom’s cousin Anne Marie, had written it down for her on an envelope a few years ago at a family event. She knew it by heart. My mom read it out loud to me over the phone, and in about an hour, I was biting into one. An actual dream come true.

Out of the oven they don’t look like much, but they smell wonderful, and it’s nothing a little glaze can’t help.

They came out just as I remembered them. How often does that actually happen? I ate my fair share (never mind the number), then shared the rest with my friend Heather, mom, and Nana. Food is arguably one of the strongest links we have to memory, so I plan on celebrating the memory of my Auntie Mella, the whole wonderful Italian side of my family, and my own childhood memories by making these cookies, and making them often.

Try these soft anise cookies for yourself and see how delicious they are!

Auntie Mella’s Italian Soft Anise Cookies

3 eggs
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons anise extract
3/4 cup sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk

For the Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon anise extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, extract and baking powder.
  3. Add the vegetable oil and milk, then the flour, one cup at a time, until well combined. Chill the dough for 20 minutes to help with stickiness.
  4. Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of dough, and roll smooth between your palms.  Arrange the balls of dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms of the cookies are a light golden brown.  The tops will still be pale.
  6. Remove from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl until just smooth.  You want it more thick than thin, but still runny.
  8. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the glaze (just enough to coat the tops), then return to the wire rack, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides of the cookie.
  9. Top with sprinkles before the glaze hardens.

Cookies are best served they day they’re made.  Once covered the trapped moisture will soften the glaze and the colors from the sprinkles will bleed.  Still tasty, but not so pretty.

Makes around 40 cookies.

Click to view and print the recipe for Auntie Mella’s Italian Cookies.

116 thoughts on “Auntie Mella’s Italian Soft Anise Cookies

  1. inspiredfollies says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m going to have to try these! I also longingly remember my mother’s anise cookies. She passed away when I was a teen, and all I remember was that the recipe used to be on the back of the anise extract box. I’ve thought about trying to search for it online, but these look just like them so I’ll start here! Thank you! Great story too!

    • Aimee says:

      Oh, I hope they are what you’re looking for – or are at least a step in the right direction! Anise cookies don’t get enough praise. Enjoy!

    • Anonymous says:

      I made these last year and my husband loved them… anise is one of his favorite flavors. A wonderful recipe, and I have them baking in the oven now.

    • Anonymous says:

      My grandma made these, generally with lemon extract. I have made them with almond extract and then orange zest in the glaze as well. My grandmas recipe added 1/3c. of sour cream so they stay nice and moist.

    • Dave says:

      Thank you for the recipe. Unfortunately the cookies tasted like they had too much flour. It overwhelmed the cookie. I love the frosting and followed the recipe exactly yet it didn’t taste right. Again, measurements were correct…they tasted of too much flour and as a result not enough anise flavoring. I’ll try again with less of one and more of the other.

      • Maureen says:

        Hi. I made these too and I tasted too much flour. I just made them again with 3 1/2 cups and extra anise. The dough is not as easy to work with, so I had to put dough in freezer. BUT they taste delicious! Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  2. Marie says:

    Aimee, these are beautiful! And as always, I love the photos and story that come with. Can’t wait to try them. Big hugs to you and I miss you tons!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am incredibly lucky that so many of your memories are my memories, too. Great pictures and write-up. Auntie Mella would be so proud!!! xo

  4. Laura says:

    Aimee, what an incredible story, anyone on the outside would think this is fiction, but we are truly blessed to know this is all real. The memories and emotions you convey through words and food is so moving. Thank you for keeping the legacy going and I want you to know we are all so proud of you!!!

    • Aimee says:

      Thank you, Laura! We are definitely blessed! Next up needs to be your mom’s blue ribbon pie! I still have the handwritten copy of the recipe you gave me! 🙂

  5. hfb says:

    I just made a batch of these since I love anise, but didn’t really feel like making springerle. I seem to remember having a few of these a while back when I saw them at a local Shaw’s and liked them, but never got around to finding the recipe. I’m sorry I waited so long and many, many thanks to you for posting the recipe (and awesome pictures and great story)! I added a bit of powdered star anise along with the anise extract to give it a bit more oomph and now I’m quickly trying to think of someone I can take a big plate of cookies to in order to save me from eating them all. 🙂

    Are these just a NE/Boston treat? I know I’ve had soft anise cookies before, but not cakey as these are and not with icing and nonpareils. I’ve also seen them called ‘anisette cookies’, but I’m not sure if that’s the ‘official’ name for them. Thanks, again, for making my day! 🙂

  6. nicole says:

    I found this recipe with google. I needed to make cookies for my husband’s Italian Family Reunion. I was not use to the anise taste but after reading your story I figured I would give it a shot. My 5 and 3 yr old helped roll, frost, and sprinkle. Great time! Needless to say they were a HUGE success! And I just wanted to say Thank You for sharing!!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    You made me cry. I lost my mother who also never wrote down the recipe for her cookies. I hope your aunt’s recipe will be close to my mother’s. I did the same thing, I never asked her how to make them. Now shes gone, and I want to make them, so I can bring back a small part of her for my children who were small when she past away. So, I am very excited to be making this recipe that sounds very authentic. I cannot thank you enough.

  8. Anonymous says:


    Well I can die now. I’ve made THE italian cookie that I thought only my sister-in-law Linda could make! This recipe is awesome! I’m so glad I stumbled across it. Only thing, it says it makes 30 cookies, I came out with 56 pretty nice size ones. And what an easy way to frost them, just sticking the tops in the frosting! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    These are fantastic! I also came out with more cookies than expected (which was great!) I colored the glaze I put on top, red and green for the holiday party I brought them too. Everyone was asking for the recipe and I gladly shared your blog with them.

  10. Aimee says:

    I am so glad so many of you are visiting from Google because you’re searching for an Italian Anise Cookie, and I am even happier to hear you are enjoying them! Looks like I am going to have to make them again soon to update the cookie yield. Darn! 🙂

  11. Elisa says:

    I need to tell you– you have saved a really special Christmas memory for me. We have made my mom’s/gram’s anise cookies at Christmas and Easter for my WHOLE life. Two Christmases ago, the recipe was destroyed. It was just written on a very very old 3×5 card, and it was in a little recipe box. The box got wet on the bottom without our realizing it, and when we went to get recipes out, they were completely unreadable, covered with black mold. I cried. Last year, I looked for recipes, but to no avail. All the recipes I found that made similar looking cookies all had butter, shortening… some made those really hard anise cookies that you can wrap around a whole egg at Easter, or little crispy ones. I decided to look again this year, and after looking through over 20 recipes, I found yours. It is EXACTLY RIGHT–the very same cookies I have made since I stood on a stool beside my mom frosting them! It seems simple, and a little silly (since they are just cookies), but I am so grateful! Thank you, thank you! And Merry Christmas!

    Also, I noticed above that your family is from Saugus, and my family is from Saugus/Revere– so, I like to think that maybe, somewhere along the line, some great-aunt of mine shared a recipe with some great-aunt of yours, and here it comes again! :o)

    • Aimee says:

      Elisa, thank you so much for your comment! I know how important it is to have the right version of the Italian anise cookie, and it makes me so, so happy to know this is the right one for you and your family! It’s not simple or silly at all — food is such a powerful connection to memory and tradition. So glad you’ll be enjoying them again this Christmas! Hope it’s a very merry one! (And yes, I hope our relatives were in a coffee club together!!)

  12. JN says:

    Wonderful recipe! I’ve been looking for a soft anise cookie recipe, and this is perfect. I didn’t have anise extract, so I used powdered anise. The flavor still came through. Thanks!

  13. Edee says:

    I made a bunch of anise biscotti last night, and they’re nearly all gone because I LOVE the flavor. I thought…I wonder if there is a soft cookie with the anise flavor! Thank you, thank you! Can’t wait to try them and take them to church 🙂

  14. Kate says:

    My husband’s family makes similar cookies that have anise seeds in them and no sprinkles on top. They call them Sucareens (sp). I’ve been told they are too hard to make….wondering if you have any ideas about using the seeds instead of extract and what the ratio for measurement purposes would be? These are really lovely cookies and I would like to be able to make. Also, my mother-in-law stores them in the freezer so they don’t get hard too fast. Works well! Thanks!

  15. Jaylene Low says:

    I’ve been searching for a recipe that did my Nana Jo’s cookies justice and this is it!! I made them for Christmas and even my mom was amazed! Thank you for the lovely trip down memory lane…delicious!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I have been making Anise cookies for years it was my grandma FANNIE’s recipe .. A little differen from Auntie Mellia’s.. But they are AWSOME . My family enjoys Christmas cookies every year.. When I seen this recipe, it brought back some great memerios … So enjoy …. Patty Pollard…..

  17. Anonymous says:

    I used your recipe for the first time last year and it’s seriously become a staple at holiday meals ever since! Thanks!!

  18. Roe says:

    My grandmother also made these but just like most cookies she made she would substitute/add liquor into the recipe. 🙂 In this case anisette in the dough and glaze. At Christmas she would roll out the dough and use holiday cookie cutters. Always loved them–still do!

  19. Primori M. says:

    These represent some of my earliest kitchen memories with my mom. I would be kneeling (or standing maybe) on a chair, the table coated in flour, and she would give me a ball of dough to roll into snakes. Then she showed me how she twisted a loop and overlapped the ends to make a sort of fish-like shape. I still have her handwritten recipe card from those times, and now I pass this experience down to my own child. Your recipe is so close to hers.
    Thank you for posting.

  20. Cindi says:

    My husband’s Nonnie gave me her recipe for Italian anise cookies many years ago. She’s been gone for quite a few years now, but her cookies live on. Anise oil, not anise extract, was the secret… Anise oil has a much stronger flavor, but it is hard to find. Thank goodness for the internet, because I was able to score it on a website. At any rate, her recipe called for a ‘wine glass full of oil’ and ‘a wine glass of milk’…I always used a certain juice glass for this recipe and it served me well. Foolishly, I never measured the amount this juice glass held, and you guessed it, the glass broke! I was nearly in tears! I’ve since had to become a test kitchen and finally decided that 3/4 cup was the measurement for my ‘wine glass’ and it seems to fare well. I will definitely give Auntie Mella’s recipe a try!

  21. terry says:

    So special this is. I just made these. For my brother and sister both have some health problems. My mother made these very Easter. It was so special. Have to tell you memories of our food we shared together is so special. Thanks for this and we are sharing in a great commune of food together. God Bless you and have a Blessed Easter.

  22. Dianne says:

    Finally I found someone else that doesn’t use butter in these cookies! My Mama used 3tbls of crisco & 1/4c of crisco oil (no milk). NOW if I can find a recipe for the Ricotta Cookies without butter, I’d be all set:)))) Happy Easter!

  23. gbunny15 says:

    I love your recipe! I made these for my son’s Baptism reception this past Saturday and they were such a success! Everyone loved them!!! Thank you so much for sharing! 😊

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi I made these today as part of my Christmas cookies and they came out great ! Thanks for sharing. I’m keeping them in recipe book for future Christmases. They remind me of my Italian grandmother’s recipe so now at Christmas I’ll think of her and your Aunt Mella too !

  24. Amy says:

    I’m goin to try to make these today. Like many others who have posted, my Nana used to make these and no one has been able to duplicate them since she passed away 12 years ago. She never cooked with a recipe, but we do have a “recipe” for these and it’s crazy. Your recipe and photo seem to look like hers and have many of the same ingredients, just more proportionate. Thank you, hope they are the same!

    • Aimee says:

      Amy, I hope they come out like you remember — or at least point in the right direction! I’m so glad this recipe is helping so many get their anise cookie fix! Merry Christmas!

  25. Susan says:

    Texture exactly authentic, they should be a little biscuity. We like them aged a day or two, as the flavor develops. Wonderful recipe and story, thank you for sharing.

  26. Lizabeth says:

    BEST EVER recipe for my favorite cookies. They are light, pillow-y, and delicious. I’ve used the same recipe for Anise cookies for more than 10 years, and although they taste good, the texture leaves a lot to be desired. These were the exact texture I have been longing for. Thank you for sharing the recipe and your memories!

  27. Stacy says:

    These are fabulous. I subbed vanilla bean paste for the anise, since I don’t like that flavor. These are the perfect cookie for coffee, to dunk, as my Italian Grandma Fannie would say.

  28. Anonymous says:

    90 million cookie recipes and after I selected this one (ingredients only) then went back baking to put my review up and actually read the story. Another Saugus person, maybe we all grew up with these cookies. They were amazing. Made about 3 dozen, I will add a little spash more anise next batch or I’ll switch to the anise oil.
    Thanks I’m saving Auntie’s recipe on my own little card.

    • Aimee says:

      Hey, Anonymous! So glad to share the Saugus anise cookie love! It gives me such a thrill every time someone makes these cookies and is happy with the results. Thanks so much for leaving your comment. Happy holidays!!

  29. Jeannine says:

    I’m so excited to try your recipe. I lived in Saugus too! I have been gone so long and desperately miss the food. Thank you so much, making them tonight.

  30. Joanna Dolle (@dollejourney) says:

    Made these cookies with my 6 yr old son and he absolutely loved them! They were quite simple to make and decorate and we both enjoyed the finished product in our bellies. 🙂 Such a treat to find a cookie recipe that is different from all the regular ones. Thanks a bunch! Note: I have heard that if you use the sprinkles you show in your pictures that those colors will bleed, but if you use the other type (the longer cylinder type ones) the color will not bleed. We used the other type and I dont seem to have the color bleeding issue. Just a tip you may want to test out. 🙂

  31. J.H. says:

    If you store them in a Tupperware covered container they do not bleed, you just need to be sure they are totally cooled before you cover them.

  32. Linda Kindelspire says:

    Hi Aimee, I was surfing through Pinterest, for different ideas on decorating Easter cookies, and lo and behold, I came upon your aunt Mella’s Italian anise cookie recipe. To say I was excited is truly and understatement. Decorating Easter cookies quickly went out the window. Your family memories really hit home. Both my parents were Italian. My mom had 7 siblings and they gave me 7 cousins. Most of us lived in a 1 block radius, close in age and therefore there never was a want for a playmate. Every Sunday, in the summer, we had cookouts, at Nonna’s. The food was never ending and delicious! Getting back to the cookie. My Nonna made Zuccarini’s, a donut shaped cookie. These were made with anise liquor and anise seeds (crushed). This is a very time consuming recipe, and help is greatly appreciated with the very hot glaze. After reading auntie Mella’s recipe I quickly gathered the ingredients and made them. Since I have a great love of anise, I added the anise seeds. I was thrilled with the results. This is a very user friendly recipe with a very similar great taste. Grazie for sharing. Linda p.s. Will think of you and auntie Mella everytime I make these.

  33. Aimee says:

    Hi Linda! Thank you so much for your comment! It warms my heart more than words can express to know that you enjoyed the recipe! Your Nonna’s Zuccarini cookies also sound amazing — I will have to add those to my “to-make” list! Wishing you a very happy Easter!

  34. Margherita says:

    Buona Pasqua, Aimee! Like others I just stumbled across your recipe. I found my mom’s recipe for Easter Bread but I couldn’t locate the cookie one. I’m on a real Italian heritage tour in my kitchen this year. I’m gathering the supplies for Pastiera ( that’s a killer) and ricotta cookies. But now that I’ve found you I’m sticking with these! The only difference was my mom’s family put lemon extract in theirs. Guess they didn’t like anise. Although when my grandparents were alive they did make what they called “anisette cookies”. Glad I found you!

  35. Kathy says:

    My mother in law showed me how to make the some thirty odd years ago but she used Jiffy baking mix I did not have measurements but used yours since I had not made in a long time Thanks for your recipe did the teaspoon method may try the rolled dough method Thanks

  36. Margaret says:

    I am looking for an anise sliced cookie that is spongy like I had as a child that all the Italian bakeries made and sold

    • Ginny Harger says:

      I’ve had this recipe for years, don’t remember where I found it. It was a hit among my Italian relatives when I made a couple of batches for a family anniversary party and I got a lot of requests for the recipe. I shape the dough into logs and cut after baking so they look like biscotti, but they’re more spongy than crunchy. I call them Almond Bars but anise flavoring is an ingredient.

      Almond Bars

      2 heaping tablespoons Crisco
      1 cup sugar
      4 eggs
      1 tsp. anise extract
      2 cups flour
      4 teaspoons baking powder
      1 cups finely chopped sliced almonds (optional)
      multi-colored non-pareils (optional)

      Place parchment paper on to two 10 x 13 baking sheets and set aside.

      Cream Crisco and sugar together. Add eggs and extract; blend well. Add flour and baking powder, blending again. Add almonds if desired. Divide dough into quarters and form into four long strips about two inches wide, two per baking sheet. Sprinkle multi-colored non-pareils on top if desired. Bake 10-15 minutes at 400°. Cool and slice into 1” wide bars; store in covered container.

  37. Rosa says:

    I followed this recipe to a T and when trying to roll them into a ball for the oven, i found they were too sticky, other than adding more flour or letting it rest more in the fridge, does anyone have suggestions?

    • Aimee says:

      Hi Rosa. I have found that the best way for me to roll the dough is to chill it thoroughly — for several hours if possible. A dusting of flour on the hands will help, but I frequently find myself washing the stickiness off my hands as I go if I haven’t had time to chill the dough for long enough. Hope this helps. Happy baking!

      • Aimee says:

        Hi again, Rosa.

        I made the cookies today, and have the following additional tips. Definitely chill the dough as long as you can. I usually do an hour or so. The dough is very elastic, which also makes it quite sticky, but you can wrangle control! When I am grabbing a chunk of dough to shape into a ball, I pinch it from the bowl with my fingers, and then quickly roll it down between the flattest part of my palms. It forms a smooth ball quite easily if you can master this step. Then, keeping my rolling momentum, I tip my palm over the parchment-lined baking sheet and let it fall into place. I agree that if you try and handle the dough with your fingers again, it will likely start to stick and lose its ball-shape. By time time I have filled a cookie sheet, my fingertips are covered in dough, but my palms are clean. I usually stick the dough back in the fridge to chill while the first sheet bakes. I also wash my hands :). Hope this helps! Happy baking!

  38. Susan says:

    Anise cookies are amazing, but Instead of using anise flavore I use Romana Sambvca Liquore. It’s a much better flavor. Deeper flavor too.. My Mother taught me that. You only have to buy a nip.

  39. Brittany says:

    I found this recipe on Pinterest and it was such a big hit on xmas eve! Everyone one loved how “fluffy” they were. This will be a staple every Christmas. I actually made another batch last night (January 6) lol. Thank you so much Aimee!

  40. gloria says:

    How exciting to find all these wonderful hints/recipes/substitutions for real Italian cookies.❣️ I can’t resist asking if anyone has a recipe for Italian S-Cookies? They are very plain [no frosting] and dunking one in coffee brings me back to my childhood in NE Massachusetts. Nana & my mom always cooked them without a recipe, but my fave store bought ones were from Pappy’s Bakery in Lawrence [closed] and Piro’s Bakery in Methuen. Thanks for any suggestions‼️

  41. Anonymous says:

    I would like to use lemon…..we dont like anise that much…..I think it would be fine to do so..thanks for the memory and recipe.

  42. Beverly says:

    I had a problem…I made the recipe as you stated. I knew when I put them in the refrigerator that I wasn’t going to be able to roll them into a ball, because the dough was not firm enough. I put it in the refrigerator for over a 1/2 hour and sure enough I couldn’t roll them out. I ended up making them as drop cookies and they were really like light and soft. Is the 4 cups accurate or should there be more flour. The next time I make them I’ll try using more flour and see if that works…overall they tasted great.

    • Barbra says:

      Just made these a couple of weeks ago and followed recipe exactly. I used a cookie scoop and that worked well, able to roll and yes a tad sticky but still easy enough to work with.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I’m a horrible baker…great cook, but ruin all my cookies and cakes! These are my all time favorite cookies…I am going to attempt them this year! Any secrets to perfection?

    Happy Holidays!

  44. Linda says:

    I loved reading your story. I’m an Italian girl from Cambridge, MA. now living in Northern NJ. I haven’t had these cookies in years. Looking forward to making them to share with my husband”s family this Christmas. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!

    • Aimee says:

      Definitely! Frosting the day after is fine. Just give yourself enough time after frosting for the glaze to harden before serving or transporting. And remember that trapped moisture from plastic wrap will cause the color in the sprinkles to bleed.

  45. Angela says:

    I’m going to try these for the first time. My grandma used to make them every year but her cookies had pink frosting. I’m guessing food coloring?

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  47. Lisa says:

    I’m really excited about trying out this recipe. I’m actually making them for my Nephews Wedding. I was wondering if they freeze well after baking?
    Any of your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you, Lisa

  48. Rachel says:

    Italian cookies are a deeply embedded memory for me, too, and I still make them every year – at least on Christmas if not more often. My recipe is a little different (bigger, I guess, too) and calls for “6 large spoons” of Crisco. Over the years I’ve always wanted a more concrete measurement for that, so I was googling. I always thought my family was the only one that made these but figured it was worth a shot. Glad to read all of the comment in this thread to find out that so many people have memories of these. These are the only cookies that I could eat 10 of and still want more! So good. I don’t like licorice but LOVE these.
    I’ll have to call my Grammy to find out about the Crisco though 🙂

    Also, we always made ours into shapes. Braids, twists, etc. And balls, too.

  49. Robbie Gration says:

    I have had this recipe pinned since last Christmas, although I didn’t make them then, I am planning on making them this Christmas. I like to bake ahead, do you think these cookies would freeze well after baking and if so, should I frost them first and then freeze or frost after they have thawed ? They look amazing

  50. Melissa says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. The cookies taste fantastic! but my cookies did crack. Do you know what I did wrong that might have caused this to happen?

    • sharon williams says:

      mine are cracking too as I watch them baking right now :(. wish I knew why, I followed the directions to the T. please help Aimee!!!

  51. tom edelman says:

    Thanks, My Mother was so good at making these morsels from heaven every Christmas. Now I’ve a recipe to try. God Bless.
    tom e

  52. sharon williams says:

    OMGOSH!!!I just took my first batch out and tried one, they are absolutely delish!!! I’m not Italian and my mom was not a baker (my grandparents died before I was born). also we were not too well off so we were lucky to get any cookie. and now my oven is broke (broke 2 weeks before thanksgiving and was only able to afford a counter top oven and they still came out scrumptious!!! thank you so much for this recipe. Hopefully I get some cookie orders now so I can maybe get an oven. I pray.

  53. Danielle Giannascoli says:

    I tripled the recipe and now do not need all this dough. How long will it last in the refrigerator? Can you freeze the dough?

  54. Gina says:

    I want to give you a big hug! These are exactly like my Aunt Tan’s cookies she is famous for. There has not been a wedding or a holiday in my family without them. I am sooooooo excited and I dare say yours are even better, softer, cakeier. I was surprised that there was no butter, no eggs, and a lot of baking powder, but I followed your (her) recipe exactly and wow you nailed it. Thank you so much.

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