I love making sugar cookies, especially holiday themed ones. There’s something oddly cathartic about rolling the dough, carefully cutting out cute shapes, and then decorating them. No matter what you do they always turn out cute! This St. Patrick’s Day sugar cookie recipe has an extra Irish inspired kick: Anise spice.
Why I Love Sugar Cookies for Holidays Like St. Patrick’s Day
Making sugar cookies is a lot of fun, especially if you have kids in the house. Baking is my one of my family’s favourite things to do on a holiday! You could enjoy them at home or bring your batch of sugar cookies to school to share with the class. Bonus: they’re peanut free!
Sugar cookies are also really great for kids to make from a developmental perspective. Rolling and cutting out the dough works fine motor skills, which is great for younger kids. Older ones can develop kitchen and math skills as they mix up the recipe. Finally, everyone can get creative while decorating!
What is Anise Seed or Spice?
Irish spices are pretty limited when it comes to baking (they prefer to use them on, well potatoes, among other thing.) Anise itself actually isn’t an Irish spice… They actually bake a lot with fennel. The problem with fennel, though, is that you can’t readily find it ground up and ready to add to a batch of cookies.
Thankfully, fennel has a pretty familiar flavour profile: black licorice.
So, to give this St. Patrick’s Day sugar cookie recipe an Irish twist, I decided to add anise (also called aniseed) which tastes similar to fennel despite being a completely different plant.
What Can I Decorate These Sugar Cookies With?
I like to put royal icing on my sugar cookies. It will still taste great with the anise spice as long as you stick to vanilla. Buttercream can also work, but don’t add extra flavors like chocolate.
If you roll and cut out your sugar cookies in St. Patrick’s Day shapes you can use the icing to decorate!
St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookie Recipe with Anise
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 2 cups white sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 5 cups all purpose four
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 tsp ground anise (aniseed)
For the dough
- In electric mixer or large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla until mixed.
- Stir in (or set mixer on the lowest setting) the flour, baking soda, salt, and anise.
- Cover and chill for a minimum of one hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a lightly floured board or surface, roll out the dough evenly until it's about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch thick.
- Use a St. Patrick's Day cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
- Place the cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased, or parchment lined, cookie sheet.
- Bake them for 6-8 minutes (until golden brown on the bottom).
- Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating.
Once you’ve made your cookies, decorate them with your favorite sugar cookie frosting. Personally, I use royal icing made with egg whites because it goes on evenly and has a nice, shiny finish. A softer icing, like one made with butter and icing sugar, would also be nice on these cookies.