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What is the recipe? Has it got a large amount of sugar and eggs but no butter or other fat as my recipe does? I would guess that the high proportion of sugar is the reason they are chewy. Sugar liquifies at baking temperature and then, when the cookies cool, it re-solidifies, but in a different state than the original crystals. Mine are chewy, too (when they come out right) and, as far as I know, that is how they are supposed to be.
I use the recipe from an older version of The Joy of Cooking. They are called "Anise Cakes" in JOC c.1958 or so. I have been having some difficulties with that recipe. It is one in which you let the cookies dry over night and then, when you bake them, they rise up under the dried shell, making them look like low mushrooms — or that is what is supposed to happen. What has actually been happening with mine is that the shell cracks to bits and the come out looking speckly and unnatractive. I got in touch with the radio program called America's Test Kitchen and they were very helpful basically advising me not to use King Arthur Flour for this recipe because of its high gluten content. Instead they said to use Pillsbury or Gold Metal unbleached flour.
Yor egg whites were probably not stiff enough ( did you turn the bowl over to test)!? Or did you keep them wit other cookies from which they draw moisture. However, it is not bad for Anisplaetzchen to be a little chewy .
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
To my knowledge, they are intended to be a "bit" chewy, as they are not a separated egg sponge cookie. Rather, the eggs and sugar are whipped to a ribbon, which both dissolves and emulsifies the sugar. If you want them to be more crisp, perhaps bake them a few minutes longer.
Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.
Chewy is good, as long as they are not undone. Anise Plaetzchen and Springerle can be tricky to bake, though. I wait for a string of cold, dry days with low humidity. My recipe calls for hartshorn (baking ammonia) rather than baking powder. I believe hartshorn results in a crisper cookie. I beat the eggs and powdered sugar for at least 20 minutes before I add the flour. Finally, I use anise oil, not anise extract--That doesn't affect the texture, just the taste. after the cookies are formed, they need at least eight hours to dry--several years I let them sit two days before they had lost enough moisture. When you turn the cookie upside down, you should be able to see where it has dried out.
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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