Anis-Chräbeli – Anise Bites: Delicious crispy and with anise flavor from the city of Baden in Canton Aargau, Switzerland.
- 4 eggs
- 450g of confectioner’s sugar
- one pinch of salt
- 600g unbleached white flour
- The traditional flavoring is 15ml (one tbsp) Kirsch and 20ml (two tsp) of anise seeds.
- For beginners replacing the anise seeds with 22.5ml (1-1/2 tbsp) of liquid star anise extract makes the dough easier to work.
- If you like the more pronounced taste of star anise, 20g of ground star anis will give the spicier taste with the traditional feeling. But beware of processing the star anise in food processors with plastic recipients: it is very aggressive on the plastic.
- You can experiment with all sorts of other flavoring and coloring, and if you had a success, feel free to share it as a comment to this blog post.
- Beat the eggs well in a big bowl.
- Add salt, flavor, sugar and keep beating to a uniform liquid.
- Add the flour slowly slowly while beating and stirring to a homogeneous mass.
- At about 2/3 of the flour I switch from the mixing tool to the kneading tool on my simple mixer. Thorough stirring is a critical success factor.
- Prepare your baking sheets. Either grease directly the sheet (don’t use baking paper) or use a silicone mat (no need to grease). I love the silicone mats: less waste, easier to detach and clean. But they retain more humidity and this must be accounted for during baking.
- Ensure that the working surface, tools, and hands are clean and dry. Lightly dust the working surface and anything else that will touch the dough with flour.
- Traditional shapes were made by taking a snowball quantity in the hands and rolling them to a long, about 1/2 inch thick string. Cut pieces of two inch length and make three diagonal incisions on the length. Bend slightly open and put on the baking tray.
- An easier process is to roll the dough about 3/8 inch and cut shapes with a cookie cutter. Or, to achieve traditional looking shape: cut one inch long stripes, cut them into two inches long pieces and make three diagonal incisions on the length of the pieces. Bend slightly open and put on the baking tray.
- Let the shape rest in a dry and quiet place (no draft) for 24-48 hours until they are dry. The exact timing will depend on the location specifics. The drier the location, the shorter the time.
Temperature and time may vary slightly depending on your oven. Pre-heat the oven. Put the baking sheet in the middle or lower part of the oven. It’s the third level from below in my oven. Bake with the door slightly open. I use a two inches flat head screw and a small bare (no plastics that could melt) flat magnet to fix it on the top corner of the oven’s door so that it won’t close completely. 270°F for 25 minutes on the silicon mat, or 285°F for 22 minutes on the greased baking sheet.
After baking let the baking sheet rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before removing the cookies. They come easily off the silicon mat. Use a scraper if you did not use a silicon mat. You want the bottom of the cookie to be slightly golden but not burned. The cookies deeper inside the oven will turn darker than those in the front.
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