Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.
This week's recipe is not from the culinary minds of Pete or Barb, but from the 1950 Gourmet Cookbook, which is a well-worn keepsake of Barb's mother. "'Tis the season to pull out the family recipes and make the side dishes and cookie recipes you've eaten your whole life," quips Barb, whose mom made anise seed cookies every Christmas. "Let me be clear: We did not make cookies at Christmas. There was no mommy and me at the stove. It was her thing: She wanted them to look and taste beautiful -- and they were."
The recipe is super-easy and straightforward, but it comes with a warning from Barb -- namely, "Don't even think of skipping the egg-wash part."
Barb had given me the original recipe, word for word, straight from the Gourmet Cookbook, but I tweaked the steps a bit here to make it easier to follow.
Anise Seed Cookies
1/2 cup butter 1 cup sugar Four egg yolks 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/2 cup flour, sifted 2 teaspoons double acting baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon anise seeds
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1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter until light. 2. Gradually add sugar and continue creaming until fluffy. 3. Add vanilla to egg yolks, beat, stir and pour into mixing bowl. 4. To the sifted flour, add double-acting baking powder and salt. Mix well and sift again. 5. Stir anise seeds into the dry ingredients and mix well. 6. Thoroughly combine the flour with the butter mixture to make a soft dough, adding more flour if necessary. 7. Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes. 8. Place the cookies on a baking sheet, not too close together, and brush them with the beaten egg yolk. 9. Bake in a slow oven for 15 minutes or until delicately brown.