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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  • What a nice looking cookie! And neat idea to add star anise to Snickerdoodles — something that would never have occurred to me. Sounds like a good book — thanks for the intro. Oh, and I’m taking off for the rest of the year, so want to wish you very happy holidays!

  • John: Happy holidays to you and your family, too. I hope you get some real time to enjoy it all!

  • Not a huge fan of snickerdoodle but the star anise might change my mind… 🙂

  • i’m so glad cinnamon is in there too–you can’t call something a snickerdoodle with no cinnamon! 🙂 i like the twist. 🙂

  • I love the crispy on the edge and chewy in the center…my favorite kind of cookie…and I am loving the star anise in it…great for the holidays and anytime!
    I hope you are having a fabulous week 🙂

  • Love snickerdoodles! I made some myself just last weekend! Star anise would definitely give it that licorice taste.

  • Heavenly cookies, indeed!

  • Pingback: 18 Aromatic Star Anise Recipes - Half-Scratched

  • I’m looking to make these, but I only have pure Anise extract. Could it be substituted for the ground anise? I can always buy the ground kind. However, if it can be swapped, then I would like to use what I have on hand. Thanks!

  • Hi Julie: You could probably use anise extract in the cookie dough, itself, though, I would go easy on the amount since the extract is so strong. But you can’t use the extract in the sugar coating that the cookie dough balls get rolled in. Hope that helps. Happy baking!

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