So this month I took a risk and chose a polarizing ingredient for the Flavor of the Month. I know black licorice is not a flavor everyone enjoys (my husband says it tastes like “death and broken dreams”, lol), but I love it in all its various forms. That could be actual black licorice candy, or in spices, liqueurs, etc, with that signature flavor. One such spice is anise, also called star anise. If you see it whole, the reason for the name will become obvious. When deciding to do black licorice as a Flavor of the Month, I knew right away that I wanted to share a dessert flavored with anise. I don’t know why, but coconut macaroons was the first thing that popped into my head. As you may know, coconut is another one of may absolute favorite flavors. I decided some bittersweet chocolate added to the mix would help offset this sometimes-too-sweet cookie. I am really happy with the result, this cookie made with my own personal dream flavor trifecta!
So let’s get to it!
The anise may be the hardest part about this recipe. I haven’t had much luck finding it already ground at my local grocery store. If you can find it, more power to you and you don’t have to take this extra step! For the rest of you, you’ll need to take whole star anise and grind them down. We actually have a separate coffee grinder that we use just for spices. If you have a spice grinder, use that. Otherwise, you can throw them in a blender or food processor.
Grind until they are close to a fine powder. Depending on how fine you can get it, you may need to run it through a fine mesh strainer.
Now measure out one and a half teaspoons of the powdered anise. Preheat your oven and cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Now pour the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate pieces into a large bowl and mix that together. Then in a separate mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, you’ll add your egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. The cream of tartar adds some stability and ensures your egg white don’t separate from everything else. Now beat those until medium-stiff peaks form. Basically you’re looking for the whisk to just start to leave a trail when lifted out and not hold a pointy peak. Add the anise powder and whisk another few seconds.
Now fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture until there are no large streaks of egg white.
Next you’ll take a heaping tablespoon of the cookie dough and put that on the cookie sheet. Repeat that with all the dough. The cookies won’t spread much so you can probably get 15 or so on a sheet.
Pop the cookies sheets in the oven and bake 20-24 minutes, rotating halfway through. You’re looking for the cookies to be golden and no longer wet in the middle.
These cookies are so delicious! They have a slight crisp on the outer edges and are nice and chewy throughout. Then there’s the incredible flavor of the coconut with the chocolate and that anise! The anise is not overpowering, but still present.
If you’re a fellow black licorice lover, what’s your favorite way to consume this flavor?
- 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground anise, or 6 star anise
- If using whole star anise, grind to a fine powder. Run it through a fine mesh strainer if necessary and measure out 1 teaspoon.
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Mix together coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate in a large bowl.
- Beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in a separate bowl until medium-stiff peaks form. Add anise powder and whisk another few seconds.
- Fold beaten egg whites into coconut mixture until there are no large streaks of egg white.
- Scoop out heaping tablespoons of the cookie dough and put that on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Bake 20-24 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden and no longer wet in the middle.