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- add 1 tablespoon whole anise seeds<br> 2 tablespoons boiling-hot water<br> 2 cups all-purpose flour<br> 1/8 teaspoon baking soda<br> 1/2 teaspoon salt<br> 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened<br> 2/3 cup sugar<br> 2 large eggs<br> 1/4
- Soak anise seeds in boiling-hot water until most of water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
- Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes in a stand mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 4 minutes with a handheld. Beat in 1 egg and anise seeds with any remaining soaking liquid until combined. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour mixture until just combined.
- Divide dough into 4 balls and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Chill disks, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 3 hours.
- Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
- While oven preheats, roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaining dough chilled) on a well-floured surface with a well-floured rolling pin into a 7-inch round (slightly less than 1/4 inch thick; if dough becomes too soft to roll out, chill on a baking sheet until firm). Cut out as many cookies as possible from dough with cutter and transfer to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging cookies about 1 inch apart. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash. Brush each cookie lightly with egg wash, then sprinkle with some of sesame seeds.
- Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until bottoms are golden, 10 to 12 minutes total, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely.
- Gather scraps and chill until firm enough to reroll. Make more cookies with remaining dough, scraps (reroll only once), and sesame seeds, then bake on cooled sheets.
- Cooks' note:
- Cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.