Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Italian Anisette Christmas Cookies - Vegan, Gluten-Free

Cookie season continues.

Among the blizzard of vegan Christmas cookie recipes that are blanketing the internet, I couldn't find one Anisette Cookie recipe. I can only assume (sadly) that there are not enough vegan Italians out there. Because I know I'm not the only vegan anise fanatic.

The Anisette is a soft, cakelike cookie with a touch of anise and sometimes lemon. Sprinkles are necessary to provide the contrasting tiny crunch.
Traditionally, the cookies are iced too. I have yet to find a white cookie glaze that does not use powdered sugar, so I opted to forgo the icing and just top with sprinkles before baking.

I used two brands of sprinkles, one a generic holiday nonpareil mix and the other a vegan, naturally colored jimmy mix. 

Yes, the scents of candy cane and fresh evergreen will always carry that holiday spirit, but it can be easily overdone. Change it up by making your home smell warm like an Italian bakery on Christmas Eve.

Gluten-Free Vegan Italian Anisette Christmas Cookies
Yields about 20 cookies

Gluten-Free flour blend:
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
OR 3 cups white wheat flour (for non-gluten-free)

1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup baking oil (I used light olive oil)
2/3 cup light agave nectar
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Heat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour blend (or white wheat flour), baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the oil, agave, applesauce, anise extract, and lemon extract. Add dry ingredients into wet and mix well until an even dough/batter is formed. Using a round tablespoon, drop cookies onto baking sheet. (Cookies will not spread, so they can fit in close together.) Pour sprinkles on top. (If they do not stick, dip a finger in water and wet the top of cookies before pouring on sprinkles.) Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookie bottoms are slightly golden. Remove from sheet and let cool.


  1. Oddly enough - I like the pastel topped cookies better, I wonder if I'm getting Christmas cookied-out? There are a million cookie recipes floating aroudn right now, glad to see a unique one. They look delicious! =)

  2. Thanks so much Heather! I completely agree with you on the pastel.

  3. I know what you mean about holiday colors and flavors getting over-done! Nice to see a recipe that gives off a home-y feeling without being loaded in chocolate or mint!