Salty Black Licorice Brownie Cookies

August 29, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Most people don’t like black licorice. But as it turns out, something unique happens when licorice and chocolate join forces. The experience becomes something entirely new—not your typical chocolate cookie nor the intense pep of licorice candies, especially salty Swedish Salmiakki, which most are accustomed to. The notes of one blend with the other, and it's almost impossible to determine where one flavor ends and the other begins. The chocolate softens the bite of the licorice, and the licorice wakes it up. This cookie is salty, sweet, and surprisingly complex.

Adapted from recipes by The Boy Who Bakes, Butter and Brioche, and Gail Simmons.
Charli Nowak

Makes: 12 large cookies
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 11 min


  • 7 ounces 60% dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons black cocoa powder (or Dutch-processed cocoa powder)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons licorice root powder (available in specialty spice stores)
  • 2 teaspoons ground anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (plus flaky salt for sprinkling on top)
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Place chocolate, water, and vanilla extract in a medium heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place butter in a small pot over medium heat and begin melting. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until butter begins to brown and smell nutty. Immediately pour over chocolate mixture and stir until completely melted. Set aside.
  4. Place eggs and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed for 7 minutes until eggs are pale and ribbony. Meanwhile, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, licorice root power, anise, and salt. Set aside.
  5. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add melted chocolate mixture. Once combined, add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
  6. Using a large #20 cookie scoop (or 3 rounded tablespoons), portion batter onto prepared trays leaving two inches between each. Sprinkle tops with flaky salt and bake until puffed and crackly, about 11 minutes. Remove from oven, give the tray a good smack against the counter, and let cool for at least 20 minutes.

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Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Reviews

Megan H. December 21, 2018
I think I’ve made these 4-5 times this year. They’re my favorite cookie of 2018, at least
Lee R. December 20, 2018
I came, I tried, they're beautiful.
Megan H. September 28, 2018
I am having trouble finding ground anise. Can I sub ground fennel or 5-spice?
Rebecca S. September 28, 2018
I couldn't find ground anise either. I just bought the whole anise SEEDS (not star anise) and ground the seeds up. If you cannot find the seeds, just use 2 tsp. of licorice powder instead. (SO your total for licorice powder will be 2Tbsp+2tsp).
Megan H. October 1, 2018
I ended up using fennel because after I tasted the licorice root and the fennel I liked the pairing. These were very good; my coworkers have given glowing approval, even those who didn't think they liked licorice because it's very subtle here. I really enjoy the texture because they are the chewiest cookies I've ever made. I made them half the size that the recipe stated and they flattened out a lot. They would have been really huge and more cookie than I like to eat had I not. Plus, more cookies.
Rebecca S. September 16, 2018
These cookies are very good. The batter was more like cake batter (not thick, more of a runny consistency), but the end result of the shape of the cookies was very cookie-like. The taste was great - if you like licorice. I do not think it will convert people to liking licorice - but if you like both chocolate and licorice, you will like this combo. I would suggest adding chocolate chunks also (3/4 cup). I also added milk instead of water to the chocolate mixture, since water will seize up the chocolate. Next time I would actually add more licorice powder (maybe 1-2 tsp more). I could taste the licorice, but it was subtle. I made 24 cookies with this batch (minus all the dough I I would definitly make these again.