Joe Sybertz Anise Cookies

At her Annual Open House, there are a couple of items that Laurie Sybertz can count on completely disappearing by the end of the night: kielbasa bites and Joe’s anise cookies. The kielbasa bites might vary a little bit every year depending on what ingredients Laurie has on hand or if she feels like mixing it up. The recipe features chili sauce, pineapple, cranberry sauce, and brown sugar, but other sauces can be substituted or added, including grape jelly or marmalade. Joe’s anise cookies are always a huge hit. The recipe (below) comes from his sister, whose Italian husband and his family have been making them for years.

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup neutral oil
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • ¾ tablespoon pure anise oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the sugar, oil, milk, and anise oil. Slowly add wet to dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon or spatula.

Form roughly 1-inch balls of dough with oiled fingers. Place an inch apart on cookie sheets and bake 8 to 12 minutes, or until cookie bottoms are golden brown, but tops are still light.

Remove to racks to cool, then dip in the frosting. Sprinkle with colored nonpareils if you like.


  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon anise oil
  • hot water

Place sugar in a small bowl and add anise oil. Beat in just enough hot water to make a smooth icing.

Makes approximately 72 cookies.