Anise seed sugar cookies



“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’.

It may have been a  2020, lock down was the new norm, travel was virtual, gift exchanges kerbside, but, oh well, it is that time of the year. Time to slow down, watch the old favourite Christmas movies even after you know the dialogues by heart, light the fire place and enjoy the snow clad landscape outside while getting some baking done.


Being a novice baker I stick to a variety of cookie recipes. Anise seed is quite common ingredient in Indian cuisine. It can be used as a mouth freshener or even a home remedy to counter nausea.

No wonder I was drawn to this recipe from “The Beach house kitchen”. The cookies turned out crisp, not overly sweet and the coarsely ground anise seeds sometimes lingered in the mouth for a last bite releasing that oh so wonderful liquorice taste.

Recipe; Adapted from ” The beach house kitchen “

Ingredients; Made 42  pieces, including the large and small ones.

 All purpose flour                                                       23/4 cup

Crushed anise seed                                                    1 Tbsp

Baking powder                                                            2 tsp

Unsalted butter                                                           1 cup

Granulated sugar                                                         1 cup

Vanilla extract                                                               1 tsp

Egg ( Fake egg, see notes below )                                  1 large

Sanding and icing sugar                                             As needed to decorate.


Turn the oven at 350 degrees F

Take the flour. Mix the baking powder and coarsely ground anise seeds.

In a stand mixer, take the butter at room temperature and add the sugar. Mix till light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on high. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix for another minute.

Turn the speed low and add the flour mixture in a couple instalments. Turn the mixer off as soon as the dough comes together.

Take it out on a work surface, divide in two halves, cover with cling film until ready to use. Take the first half on a floured surface, cover the dough with a wax paper and roll out to one fourth inch thickness. Use a three inch fluted cookie cutter for the outer circle and a one and half inch cutter for the inner circle. Carefully lift them up to a Sil pat lined baking sheet. Decorate with sanding sugar, I have used green and red.

Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, till the sides just start to brown.

Collect them on a wire rack. Sprinkle some extra icing sugar on top



One fake egg :                    Mix together  2 Tbsp water, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp canola or any vegetable oil.


Eggless sugar cookies for Halloween



I had a pretty last minute request to bake some simple sugar cookies for a friend. “The kids are going to decorate them together for Halloween” he added. Being the novice baker that I am, this was huge. “But of course I can “, I replied in the same breath. Not for once taking into consideration it was a week day, I will barely have a few hours at the end of a hard working tuesday.

The rational part of my brain said, Ratna, you realize that all the star bakers are probably drowned with orders of cakes, cookies, muffins and other ghoulish treats, they have no time doing “just plain sugar cookies’. The other part of my brain said’ are you kidding me, maybe I am just too modest. Maybe I am much better than I consider myself to be!

At the end of a very long day, I measured the flour and sugar, reading and rereading the recipe, checking the labels of my vanilla bottle ( a very minor mishap happened when I poured coffee flavour instead of vanilla ). The stand mixer was put to work, which gave me back a perfect dough. Following the recipe to the T, I put the dough in the fridge to chill.

Looking for the plain round cookie cutter from the four shoe boxes full of all shapes from Christmas to easter, Linzer to zoo animals, flowers to ginger bread men, it dawned on me that I should put my Halloween cookie cutters to use too. Between the witch’s hat to smiling pumpkin face my hand went for the silicone cookie sheet with cavities. Just press the dough in it, and bake. Very smart move, I said to myself.

It was past midnight when the few dozen cookies were put on wire racks to cool down just as the recipe called for.

As I opened my eyes in the morning I ran to the kitchen to appreciate my handiwork. The plain rounds turned out perfect. What are these , weird faces from the silicone cavities? On a closer look I found that it were the little chicks hatching from the eggs, easter cookies which I mistook for smiley pumpkin faces. Hmmmm….

Plan B was launched, how can the little chicks be changed to a halloween theme? Cover the faces! Yup, just cover the faces. Make them into mummies. Phew! sometimes I am so proud of myself. Save the two eyes every bit of the face was covered, and here I present a bunch of totally spooky Halloween cookies just for you.

Recipe; Adapted from Mommy’s Home cooking.

Got 21/2 dozen cookies. Numbers may vary depending on size.


All purpose flour                             3 cups

Granulated sugar                         1 cup

Softened cream cheese              8 oz

Unsalted butter softened            3/4 cup

Baking powder                         1/2 tsp

Vanilla extract                           2 tsps

Store bought icing, colours..


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the baking sheets with Silpat sheet or parchment paper.

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl.Add salt and sat aside. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer until mixed thoroughly and the butter is light coloured and fluffy about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and vanilla, mix until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl too.

Add the flour mixture, I usually cover it with a tea towel, and mix on low speed till just combined. Take the towel off, run the machine a little more if needed. We only want to form a rough dough. Put the mixer off. Take the dough out on the counter top. Divide in two halves. Shape into two discs. Cover with saran wrap, let these sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Take one disc out, dust some flour on the counter top. Roll this flat till about 1/4 inches thick, Use flour if sticky, cut out your favourite shapes with a cookie cutter. Place them 1 inch apart, let them chill in the fridge one more time for another 15 minutes. Use the scraps and roll them again. Repeat this with the second dough disc.

Bake till the edges are light brown in colour about 12 minutes.

Let it sit on a wire rack to cool completely.. Decorate to your liking. I used store bought icing.


Eggless easter bunny sugar cookies


IMG_1489Lockdown or no lockdown, we can”t do without some Easter treats can we? I tried these eggless bunny cookies.

IMG_1476Super easy to assemble specially for novice bakers like me. Maybe the kids could not go out of the house for some easter egg hunt but these fun bunnies are sure to bring joy to the little souls.

IMG_1495Friends do try this recipe and please leave a comment here to tell me how it turned out. Hope you had a fun easter under these circumstances.

Recipe: Depends on the size of the cookie cutter.


All purpose flour                                                11/2 cup

Baking powder                                                  1/4 tsp

Pinch of salt

Sugar                                                                 1/2 cup

Softened cream cheese                                      4 oz

Softened butter                                                   1/3 cup and 2 tsps

Vanilla extract                                                      1 tsp

For the glaze:

Icing sugar                                                            1 cup

Corn syrup                                                             2 tsps

Water                                                                     3 tsps

Lemon juice                                                            1/2 tsps


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder.

Take the butter and sugar in the stand mixer, run it in medium speed for 3 minutes till the butter is pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and cream cheese. Run the mixer again for another 2 minutes.

Bring the speed down to low and add the flour in instalments. Wait till the dough comes together. Gather it on the counter top and divide it in two disc. Cover with cling wrap and let it sit in the fridge for an hour.

Take one disc out. Roll it between a two layer of floured butter paper to an even thickness of one eighth inch. Use floured cookie cutters. Lift the cookies using a floured spatula on to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Throw in the fridge for another half hour.

Use the scraps to roll again and cut out a few more cookies.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are slightly browned. Take them out of the oven and cool them on a wire rack.

The glaze:

In a grease free bowl take the icing sugar, corn syrup and water. Mix gently. Vigorous mixing will incorporate air which is not desirable. If it is too thick add little water if too thin add some sugar. Add the lemon juice. Divide this into two groups, add a drop of food colour of your choice. Dip the cookies face down in the glaze, break down any air bubbles with a tooth pick.

Let them dry.

Enjoy with your children.