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Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a food processor or blender, combine 3/4 cup sugar and lemon zest. Cover and pulse several times until the mixture is sandy and fragrant; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, aniseed, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and the sugar-lemon mixture with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add egg, brandy (or milk) and vanilla. Beat until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture. Divide the dough in half.
Preheat oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time until 1/4 inch thick. Using 2-1/2-inch moon and star-shaped cookie cutters, cut out dough. Place 1 inch apart on the prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon; sprinkle over the cookies. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.