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.