Alex: what are you making mommy?
Me: I’m making Moroccan anise cookies.
Alex: can you make American cookies?
Me: no, I’m craving mama’s cookies.
Oh mama mama, I miss you.
Mama is my maternal grandmother. She used to them on a weekly basis and we dipped them in mint tea. I like to play with this recipe; add different herbs and seeds. I also developed a gluten-free version.
I know a few people who dislike anise and licorice flavors but are addicted to these biscuits. FYI anise seeds are different from fennel seeds.
The original recipe has more sugar in it but I think they’re better when lightly sweetened. I don’t make them as often as I would like to because it’s hard to stop eating them. They make a great healthy snack to pack in the lunch bag or when you’re on the go.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, oil, eggs, and seeds. Add the orange juice gradually into the bowl with one hand, while mixing the ingredients with the other.
Knead the dough for a minute or two until the ingredients are well combined and the dough is soft and a little sticky. If the dough is too dry, add a little bit more orange juice, if it’s too sticky add a little bit flour. Cover with with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 10-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 340°F.
Divide the dough into three chunks. Put each chunk on a baking paper sheet, and sprinkle some flour on top. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a thin as possible rectangle in the size of your baking sheets.
This part is really important – use a fork (or a dough prickler) to poke holes all over the dough.
You can use a pizza cutter to cut the edges to make a straight lines (a bit crooked is fine too), and to cut the dough into little squares or with a sharp knife.
Sprinkle some salt on top and transfer the cut dough with baking paper onto the baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes or until cookie-crackers are nicely browned on top and bottom. Let them cool completely on a rack before you transfer to a container or a zip lock bag.
Use a spatula to transfer the crackers that are brown on the edges to center of the baking pan or remove them from the oven and put them on a cooling rack.
Moroccan anise cookies / biscuits
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tablespoon baking powder
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 eggs*
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds - optional
- 1 tablespoon anise seeds - optional
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds - optional
- 1 - 1¼ cup orange juice - preferably freshly squeezed but pre-packed will work too if you don't have oranges - nor the time to squeeze
- 2 baking sheets + baking paper
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and add eggs, olive oil and seeds. Add the orange juice gradually into the bowl with one hand, while mixing the ingredients with the other.
- Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes, until the ingredients are well combined and the dough is soft and a little bit sticky. If the dough is too dry, add a little bit of orange juice, if it’s too sticky add a little bit of flour. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 10-20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 340°F.
- Divide the dough into three. Roll each chunk into a ball on the baking paper. Flour the dough lightly and roll it into a ¼ inch (1 cm) thick large rectangle.
- This part is really important - use a fork (or a dough prickler) to poke holes all over the dough.
- To trim the edges and cut into 2.5” x 2.5” squares or 2”x 3.5” rectangles, use a pizza or ravioli cutter or any cookie cutter of your choice.
- Put on baking trays or sheets and bake for about 25 minutes – occasionally rotating the tray – or until the cookies are tanned. Remove the golden ones and continue to bake the rest. Let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack before you put them in an airtight container or zip lock bag. They last up to one week (in our home they last a day).
- you can use nut milk instead of orange juice.
- play with the shape of the cookies.
- Add poppy seeds