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). Adapted slightly from 1001 Cookies (Black Dog & Leventhal, 1995). —Food52
In a large bowl, cream the shortening, butter, and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Stir in the anise seeds. Cover and chill for 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of dough and form into balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the balls with the bottom of a glass dipped in flour.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly colored. Transfer to wire racks to cool.