Lemon Anise Cookies with a Cocoa Swirl

gluten free lemon anise cookies with cocoa swirl

The whimsical swirl of dark cocoa and delicate flavors of lemon and anise in these butter cookies are sure to impress even Santa himself. Simply roll, slice, and bake. They’re the perfect thing to bring to all of your holiday parties: easy and impressive! (Prop styling by Lisa Lee)

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 2sticks unsalted butter (8 ounces)
  • 1cup sugar (7 ounces)
  • 1large egg
  • 112teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 112 teaspoons anise or fennel seed, lightly crushed with a knife
  • zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
  • 214cups all-purpose, gluten-free flour (12.5 ounces)
  • 14teaspoon salt
  • 2tablespoons high-quality cocoa powder
  • Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and beat until fully incorporated and light, about 3 minutes more. Beat in vanilla, anise, and lemon zest, then flour and salt. Beat until mixture is uniform.
  • 2
  • Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Top with another large piece of plastic and roll dough into a 9 x 11 inch rectangle. Refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes.
  • 3
  • Remove dough from refrigerator, cut in quarters to form 4 smaller rectangles. Keep one portion out to work with and refrigerate the others. Place one quarter of the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. Use a fine sieve to dust cocoa over the surface. Using plastic wrap, lift the long side of the dough and begin to roll it in on itself to form a tight log. Fold extra plastic over dough and wrap tightly. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 1 hour or overnight. Repeat with remaining quarters of dough. At this point, dough can be tightly wrapped in plastic and kept, refrigerated, for up to 5 days before baking, or up to 1 month in the freezer.
  • 4
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the dough crosswise into ½-inch slices. Place on parchment-lined sheet pan, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking, until they begin to turn golden at the edges. Let cookies cool completely before removing from the baking sheet. Cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 4 days in an airtight container.