A Warm & Unexpected Spiced Milk, Alone or with Cookies

February  7, 2018

I’m used to seeing star anise in biryani—like cloves, they’re there just for flavoring the rice, not meant to be consumed. I once almost broke my tooth biting into a whole pod. (Yes, I know they’re huge, but I’m a glutton when it comes to this dish, OK? Let it go.) The floral, peppery, licorice-like spice is just as amenable to sweet dishes as it is to savory ones; anyone familiar with Chinese five-spice powder knows what I’m talking about.

So when a copy of Emily Wight’s cookbook Dutch Feast landed on my desk, and I saw a recipe for star anise milk, I wasted no time. Warm, spiced milks, in my opinion, are miles more comforting than hot chocolate, and the cleanup is easier. And it means I can have another cookie or even something savory (Wight suggests bread with cheese) alongside a mug without feeling like I need to take a three-hour nap right after. Sweetened with molasses—though I’ve used agave and maple syrup to success—it doesn’t taste like something that’s good for digestion; in other words, it’s tasty.

I contacted Wight to ask her a few burning questions I had.

Shop the Story

Nikkitha Bakshani: How might you modify the recipe for dairy-free milks (almond, soy, etc.)?

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Maybe it’s becaise I’m on my mobile phone BUT- I’m not seeing a recipe for the Star Anise Milk”
— HLGHollinger

Emily Wight: My preference is for coconut milk, like the unsweetened variety from Silk; it’s a little richer than almond or soy milk and complements the anise flavor.

NB: Is there any way to hack this in the microwave? (No is OK!)

EW: I have never had much luck heating milk in the microwave without having to clean up a big mess afterward!

NB: Do you have a favorite cookie (or two) you like to dunk in this milk?

EW: It would be nice with a couple of crisp gingersnaps. Anise is used as a digestive, so it’s a nice treat in the evening, after dinner.

With that in mind, I’ve gathered a few recipes, below, that would pair excellently with star anise milk for an after-dinner snack you might look forward to even more than dinner:

And the recipe for the milk itself is...

What are some of your favorite ways to spice up milk? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • aeb
  • Annada Rathi
    Annada Rathi
  •  HLGHollinger
  • Nikkitha Bakshani
    Nikkitha Bakshani
Former Associate Editor at Food52; still enjoys + talks about food.


aeb February 8, 2018
brown sugar, knob of ginger, vanilla bean, star anise, and a bit of fresh nutmeg. YUM.
Annada R. February 7, 2018
1) Saffron and crushed powder of almonds and cashewnuts
2) Grated ginger and black peppercorns (in cold weather especially)
HLGHollinger February 7, 2018
Maybe it’s becaise I’m on my mobile phone BUT- I’m not seeing a recipe for the Star Anise Milk
Nikkitha B. February 7, 2018
It's the first image in the article! https://food52.com/recipes/75476-star-anise-milk (but i'll add one to the end so it's more clear). Thanks for noting.