This recipe is one of the all time favorites in our family. It has been handed down over the years in my family, starting with myself. I made them most every Christmas even before I had children. And then for years after I had a family, and we adopted the tradition, I continued to make them every Christmas. And now my children are making the cookies for their children and grandchildren. I got the recipe from my sister Anna originally, who got it from her mother-in-law, who was of German descent. And probably goes back a long way from her mother also.
This recipe is for half the original as the original is for so many cookies that you would be up all night baking otherwise. Depending on when you started of course. I recommend you start in the morning. Giving you a head start and with lots of energy. And also I do it in spurts. After everything is mixed and a ball is formed, you can let it sit (covered with a tea towel) in frig until you are ready to do the rolling out, cutting out and baking. They are certainly worth the effort though as you will get praise galore. Well you really should even if only for having the stamina to complete the job!
So onward we go with the recipe:
1/4 lb. butter or margarine
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1 1/8 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. (or more) Anise oil
3 cups (sifted) flour
Cream butter/margarine and sugar together. Butter/margarine should be soft. Add egg yolks, milk and Anise oil and mix. Add (sifted) flour and baking powder, one cup at a time and mix. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Roll out to desired thickness. The baking time will change depending on the thickness. Cut into shapes with Christmas cookie cutters. Grease baking sheet once and bake at 350 degrees for 5 – 7 minutes.
Icing: Beat egg whites that you separated and saved from yolks, until stiff. Add 1/2 box confection sugar, (1) drop Anise oil, ((1) pinch of salt (optional). Enjoy! Don’t put icing on until cookies are cool.