A Warm & Unexpected Spiced Milk, Alone or with Cookies

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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.

Star Anise Milk
Star Anise Milk

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

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

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:

Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies

Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies by Genius Recipes

Gooey Butter Cake

Gooey Butter Cake by Mark Bittman

Swedish Gingersnap Cookies (Pepparkakor)

Swedish Gingersnap Cookies (Pepparkakor) by Hana Asbrink

Orange Flower-Scented Baklava

Orange Flower-Scented Baklava by Yossy Arefi

Soleils (Parisian Butter Cookies)

Soleils (Parisian Butter Cookies) by Catherine Lamb

Cinnamon and Rye Shortbread

Cinnamon and Rye Shortbread by EmilyC

And the recipe for the milk itself is...

Star Anise Milk

Star Anise Milk

Emily Wight Emily Wight
Makes 2 small servings, or 1 full mug
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 whole star anise
Go to Recipe

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

Tags: Dutch, Cookie, Dairy, Spice, Dessert, Alcohol-Free Drinks