My Grandma’s Cookie Recipe (2024)

When most of us think of our grandmother’s homemade cookies we envision soft and chewy deliciousness baking in the oven, right? The smell of the cookies baking tantalize our taste buds as they impatiently wait for that first bite. For my grand-kids it would probably be my chocolate chip cookies or my snickerdoodles that they would be imagining.If I didn’t have cookies waiting for my grand-kids upon their arrival they would think something was wrong. It is just a known fact that when you visit Grammy and Grandpa there will be cookies.

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When I was growing up I loved to bake. Starting as a young teenager I loved collecting and writing down recipes. One year for Christmas I got my mom (who hardly ever used recipes) a giant recipe box. I then proceeded to write down all the recipes I could find and collect all the recipes she had and organized them into the new ginormous recipe box. And that is when it happened…

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That is when I came across a recipe titled ‘Anise Cookies’. To a fifteen-year old who had never heard of anise, I of course read it as ‘Anus’. I know, I’m a sicko. But give me a break, I was fifteen! Being the drama queen that most fifteen-year old girls are, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “ANUS COOKIES!”

“Mom! Why do you have a recipe for anus cookies? That is so gross!”

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My very calm and sensible mother then responds, “What are you talking about? Let me see.” She stops what she’s doing comes over and glances at the recipe card that I have thrown across the room…because I am not going to touch anything that has anus written on it. Come on!

After my mom reads the recipe card she starts laughing…you know that kind of laugh where the parent is trying hard not to laugh, but just can’t help themselves. Then she says, “Oh for cryin’ in the buttermilk, it says anise cookies.”

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I scream, “I know! Why do you have a recipe for anus cookies?”

She answers, “Debora Jean, don’t be so ridiculous it says anise.”

“I know!” I scream…because I can’t really tell the difference in how she is pronouncing it. It still sounded like ‘anus’ to me.

Of course I can’t let it go. I continue on my rampage. “Mom, why oh dear God, why do you have a recipe for Anus Cookies? Have you ever made these?

Thank goodness, she answers, “no.”

“Then why do you have this recipe?” I ask.

“I got it from Grandma.” she informs me. (My dad’s mom)

I scream, “Well that figures! Of course this is Grandma’s recipe!” My Grandma was a bit crazy and a little scary. She did some things that were really weird…so I just thought this was another one of her weird things. And then it hit me…

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“Oh my gosh! Mom, have I ever eaten these ‘Butt Cookies?’ Please tell me I have never eaten these Butt Cookies! Please! If I have eaten these I will never go to Grandma’s house again!”

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Probably, just to shut up my snotty face my mom answers, “No, I don’t think so.”

“Are you sure? You’re lying! I have eaten them haven’t I? Tell me the truth!”

She is trying hard not to laugh and to be serious. “No, I am pretty sure you have never eaten them.”

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Pretty sure! What the heck? To this day I am not certain if I have ever eaten them or not. I do not completely trust my mom on this one. But maybe she is actually telling the truth because I truly do not have any memories of eating any cookies at Grandma’s house except for store-bought Ginger Snaps that she bought at the Piggly Wiggly. For those of you that do not know, that is a grocery store usually found in the southern states, but Colorado had a few and one just happened to be by my Grandma’s house.

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I just can’t let it go. “So mom, have you ever eaten Grandma’s Butt Cookies?”

She says, “yes, I think I had them once.”

“ONCE!” I scream, “See, you only had them once because they were gross!”

She answers, “No, no, they were pretty good.” I don’t believe her. You have to know my mom, she wouldn’t say anything bad about anyone.

I press on, “Well, if they were so good then why haven’t you made them?”

She thinks for a moment and then says, “Because I never have any anise.”

Of course I hear anus. I then ask, “What is anise (pronounced anus) anyway?” She says, “I’m not really sure. I have never used it.”

I scream, “Oh my gosh, it is butt juice isn’t it? Anise is butt juice!” (Please remember I am fifteen)

“Debora Jean! Enough! Stop being so silly!” “Get outside or I will give you some chores to do.”

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“Okay,” I reply, but first I have to call Nancy (my BFF).

I then called Nancy. Brrring! “Hello.” “Nanc, do you wanna come over and have some anus cookies?” “Whaaat? NO! Whaaat?” “My mom has a recipe for Anus Cookies. Really. Come over and we can make them.” “No, you’re stupid.” And she hung up.

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A bit later she called me back and told me what anise is and how to pronounce it. (She had asked her mom…I’m surprised they let her hang out with me).

  • Anise is a plant or seed used in cooking and as an herbal medicine. Pronounced with a short ‘A’ like in Ann.
  • Anus is a butt-hole…or if you want to get technical…the opening at the end of the alimentary canal through which solid waste matter leaves the body. Pronounced with a long ‘A’. Now you know.

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Even though I had learned the correct pronunciation and what anise really was, these cookies were always referred to as ‘Butt Cookies’ or ‘Butt Hole Cookies’. But this was before I was a Christian. I would probably not, hardly ever call them that today.

To be honest I could never bring myself to make them, (even though I too have a copy of the recipe in my recipe box) because I never could get ‘Anus Cookies’ out of my head. Even though the recipe clearly stated ‘Anise Cookies’ I clearly saw, ‘Anus Cookies’. Sometimes I HATE my fifteen-year old self. Really.

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So, at almost 62 years-old I thought today was going to be that day, the day to make Anise Cookies. I thought okay Debora Jean, you are no longer 15 years-old, you can do this. And I was really going to. Really. But I am sad to report that I am all out of Anise. Darn. And it is snowing so I am not driving an hour to the store to buy some. But I will share Grandma’s recipe. I challenge some brave soul out there to make these cookies and let the rest of us know how they turned out. Ready?

Makes: 3-4 dozen

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 c. shortening

1 ½ c. sugar

3 eggs

2 T. cold water

DIRECTIONS: Cream above ingredients together. You could probably replace the shortening with BUTTer.

4 c. flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 T. anise extract (not anus)

DIRECTIONS: Add to wet ingredients and mix. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 min.

There were no directions listed on this recipe so I just followed standard cookie directions. I’m sure they will work out. The recipe just listed anise as an ingredient, but I am sure it means anise extract rather than anise seed.

I really do hope someone out there has anise extract in your baking arsenal and will bake these…to put all of our wondering minds at rest. I vote for my friend Eva to bake them because I know she has anise extract because she made her delicious Italian Pizzelles with anise.

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I hope this post does not offend anyone…just sharing real life and sometimes my real life includes…this. My daughters and my mom are going to kill me…oh, and my husband…and probably Nancy…I’m scuuuuurrrred! Well at least it was not about kolaches and calochas! (Private joke)

You say tomato, I say tom-ah-to…You say anise, I say Anus…but only when I was 15. Now I say anise, but I just can’t shake it completely and have to concentrate really hard to say anise instead. Thank you Mrs. McCallister for setting me straight.

To anyone who bakes these…Please, I beg of you to post photos and comments and let us know how they turned out. THANK YOU! My Grandma will be smilin’ up yonder that after 50 years someone is finally going to make her Anise Cookies!

P.S. I apologize profusely for this post.

Have a fun flippin’ day,

Deb McLennon, the Fun Flippin’ Grammy

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My Grandma’s Cookie Recipe (2024)
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