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The Thinnest, Crispy-Crunchiest Holiday Cookie: Spanish Butter Wafers

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Photo by Linda Xiao

We found this recipe in Amanda Hesser's copy of Gregg Gillespie's 1001 Cookie Recipes (a remarkably comprehensive and lovable book that survived the culling of her massive cookbook collection) this fall.

These wafers are thin and lacy-crisp, with a rich, buttery vanilla flavor interrupted only by the crunch and burst of anise seeds. Their licorice-y flavor might be controversial in the U.S., but in Spain, you're as likely to find anise on sugared olive oil tortas and fried donuts as you would be to find cinnamon or ginger in desserts here. Unlike in candy form, the licorice fragrance in these cookies is subtle and goes nicely with a cup of tea (or wine).

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Spanish Butter Wafers

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Makes 4 to 5 dozen
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds

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