I first made these fennel cookies for our annual Big Fat Greek Party, a festival of all things Greek we hold every spring. They’ve been dubbed Bacchus Biscuits. I support that.
They turned out to be quite a hit, much to my relief – I’d never made them before the party. They are a riff off a recipe I found in of all places Sunset magazine a few years back, but instead of the cornmeal in Sunset’s original recipe I subbed in chickpea flour, which you can get in many supermarkets now where they sell Indian food.
I also doubled the amount of fennel seeds — I collected mine from the wild fennel down the road — and added a pinch of fennel pollen as well. Fennel pollen, wild fennel seed and chickpea flour? Can you get any more Greek than that? Crunchy, earthy from the chickpeas, rich from the butter, not too sweet but with an anise hit from the fennel.
GREEK FENNEL COOKIES
They’re called “Bacchus Biscuits” because the followers of Bacchus carried a stalk of wild fennel as their, ahem, staff.
Makes about 25 cookies
Prep Time: 24 hours
Cook Time: 12 minutes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds, wild if available
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons chickpea flour (available at Italian or Indian markets)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the fennel seeds, fennel pollen, salt and egg and beat the mixture together.
In another bowl, combine the flour, chickpea flour and baking powder and whisk to combine.
Stirring all the time, add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet. Shape the dough into a log, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight — this is important, because you need the chickpea flour to incorporate the moisture of the other ingredients. Skip this step and you will have gritty cookies.
The next day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice off small cylinders of the log, roll them into a ball with your hands (warming the butter), then flatten them into a cylinder again. Squash each cylinder flat with a the bottom of a glass. You can’t make them too thin, although they will cook faster the thinner they get.
Bake until they begin to color on the edges, about 12 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack.