Starry-Eyed Over Star Anise Snickerdoodles

A simple cookie with a powerhouse of flavor.

A simple cookie with a powerhouse of flavor.


Think of these as your favorite snickerdoodles — only taken up a big notch.

They’re crisp on the edges, and wonderfully chewy in the center. And they boast that old-fashioned cinnamon-sugar flavor we all love. What’s more, they get an unexpected punch of star anise, which lends warm, balanced licorice, tarragon and fennel notes.

My husband said they tasted exotic. I think they taste irresistible. Especially with coffee, chai tea or hot chocolate.

“Star Anise Snickerdoodles” is a recipe from “Incredibly Decadent Desserts Over 100 divine Treats with 300 Calories or Less” (Oxmoor House, 2015), of which I received a review copy.


The cookbook is by Cooking Light recipe developer Deb Wise. The recipes use moderate amounts of sugar and fat without sacrificing texture or flavor. Wise is a fan of whole grains, reduced fat cream cheese, fat-free Greek yogurt, and even Cool Whip.

The simple dough is flavored with star anise that you grind in a spice grinder or coffee grinder used exclusively for spices (lest your coffee take on unwanted flavors). The dough is chilled, then shaped into balls that are rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking.

The cookies taste a little like cinnamon-sugar doughnuts — with an added kick.

But with only 91 calories each, they can be enjoyed with a lot less guilt.

Ridiculously chewy in the center.

Ridiculously chewy in the center.

Star Anise Snickerdoodles

(Makes 24 cookies)

5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground star anise

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through cream of tartar) in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Place butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 30 seconds or until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar and vanilla to butter; beat 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat 1 minute or until well combined. Add flour mixture; beat 1 minute at low speed or until just combined. Shape dough into a disc; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Shape dough into 24 balls. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Roll dough balls in cinnamon mixture, coating completely. Place balls 3 inches apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool on pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and place on a wire rack to cool.

Calories per cookie, 91; fat 3.1 grams (sat. 1.9 grams; mono 0.8 grams, poly 0.2 grams); protein 1 gram; carbohydrates 15 grams; fiber 0 grams, cholesterol 15 milligrams; iron 0 milligrams; sodium 48 milligrams; calcium 15 milligrams.

From “Incredibly Decadent Desserts” by Deb Wise


More Cookie Recipes to Enjoy: Best-Ever Browned Butter-Pecan Domes


And: Brown Sugar and Almond Biscotti


And: Chewy Coconut-Chocolate Pinwheels


And: Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies


And: Chocolate Brownie Cookies


And: Corn Nut Cornmeal Shortbread


And: Walnut Acorn Cookies


And: Italian Macaroons


And: Buttermilk Coconut Blondies

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