Italian Cookies

adapted from Noble Pig


Yield:  About 50 small cookies (varies by the size rolled) 

Preheat oven: 375° F.


Cookies


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs


3 cups all-purpose flour

5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp table salt

2 tsp. anise extract (vanilla or lemon may be substituted)


Glaze


3 to 4 Tablespoons milk

2 cups confectioner's sugar

1 tsp anise extract


Nonpareils for decoration.


In a medium-size bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.


In a medium size glass bowl microwave the butter and the shortening together.  (The shortening should be fresh.)  Pour the butter and shortening into the mixer bowl.  Beat the melted butter and shortening together until incorporated.  Add the sugar and mix well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, about 1 minute each.  Mix in the anise extract.


Slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.  Mix until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as necessary.  Do not overmix.  If the cookie dough is too sticky to roll in the palm of your hand, add a bit of flour.  The dough should remain very soft so be careful adding additional flour.


Roll the cookie dough in small balls and place them on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375° F. for 8-10 minutes.  The bottoms of the cookies should be lightly browned but the tops should remain light in color.


When removed from the oven, immediately transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.  Cool the cookies completely before glazing.


For the glaze, slowly blend the milk with the powdered sugar and anise extract.  The glaze must be thick enough to adhere to the cookie.  Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze.  Sprinkle each cookie with nonpareils.  Set them aside to dry and set up completely.