Pine Nut & Anise Cookies
When I think of desserts for Valentine’s Day, what comes to mind more often that not are over-the-top-decadent chocolate concoctions. And while I’m all for that (who isn’t?), I wanted to craft a unique meal that ends with something more unexpected. And let’s face it, there ain’t gonna be no “romance” on Valentine’s night if you eat some creamy soup, some creamy pasta, and then top it all off with some rich and creamy chocolate mousse – although that does sound pretty yummy…
When I consulted the list of aphrodisiac foods that I found online, I noticed that both pine nuts and anise seeds were mentioned. I’d originally considered using the pine nuts in a pasta dish, but then I remembered these cookies and thought they’d be the perfect light end to a pretty rich meal. They’re originally from Millennium Restaurant, which is one of my favorite places to eat in the whole country. I made them several years ago after finding them online, and then saw them again republished in The Joy of Vegan Baking.
These cookies aren’t too sweet, and if you love the flavor of anise, you’ll love these. The printed recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of anise extract as opposed to the online version (below), which calls for 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon. I’m definitely an anise fan, but I’d stick with the smaller amount for these. Next time I make them I might try them with agave rather than maple syrup. While the maple flavor is nice, I feel like it might compete just a bit with the anise seeds.
These cookies would go really well with a sweet dessert wine, as suggested in the recipe, or you could also serve them alongside some squares of dark chocolate or fresh berries.
Pine Nut and Anise Cookies
Makes about 20 cookies
From the Compassionate Cooks website - Incredibly flaky and rich, these cookies go well with dessert wines, port, coffee, or tea. Serve them also with sorbet or as an accompaniment to a fruit soup. This recipe is from the Millennium Cookbook, and the cookies are out of this world.
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon aniseed
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix in the aniseed and pine nuts. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until combined. Form a ball of dough with about 2 tablespoons batter and place on the prepared sheet. [I used a very small cookie scoop, which will yield at least twice as many cookies.] Press with your hand to a thickness of 1/3 inch. Repeat, placing the cookies 3 inches apart.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or lightly brown [I baked the smaller cookies for about 8 minutes]. Let cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Happy Valentine’s Day!