Rosa’s Almond Anise Cookies


My friend Rosa claims these are the best cookies she’s ever tasted. Rosa tasted these almond and anise cookies at a friend’s house long ago and helped me re-create this recipe. They’re a special home-style treat, and with a dusting of icing sugar they’re perfect for any occasion.

The Portuguese are passionate about their almonds. The versatile nut grows in abundance throughout the southern Algarve and is used to add flavour to all types of desserts and savoury dishes. Lightly toast the nuts beforehand to bring out their full flavour.


*Carla’s Tip* Keep the cookie dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (preferably overnight)  before baking, for a stronger almond flavor. It’s a baker’s marinade.
You can also drizzle the cookies with melted chocolate and add sprinkles for a festive touch.


Rosa's Almond Anise Cookies

  • Servings: 5 dozen
  • Print


  • 1 3/4 cups (435 mL) slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL)  vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) ground almonds
  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) anise seeds, crushed with fingertips
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) port
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sliced almonds, skin on, or whole blanched almonds (about 1 almond per cookie)
  • Sifted icing sugar


  1. TO TOAST THE NUTS Spread the slivered almonds on a baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 350F (175C) oven for 5 to 8 minutes, or just until you begin to smell almonds, shaking the baking sheet occasionally.  Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and oil with sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In another bowl, combine the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, and crushed anise seeds.  Gradually beat the almond mixture into the butter mixture in alternating batches with the port, until smooth.  Add the prepared toasted slivered almonds and mix just until combined. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cold enough to shape.
  3. Using well-greased hands, shape approximately 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the batter into balls.  Either roll in the sliced almonds or place one blanched almond firmly into each cookie.  Place onto a greased baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) between cookies.  Bake in preheated 425F (220C) oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until the bottoms and edges of the cookies are golden brown (Oven temperatures can vary so check for colour). Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes.  Serve with a dusting of icing sugar.
  4. Cool completely and store in a cookie tin.

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