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I have a recipe for an anise cookie that I've made several times. The ingredients are: flour, baking powder, salt, anise, eggs, vanilla. No butter or oil. The dough is rather sticky. The unusual thing about the recipe is that once the cookies are put onto a parchment-lined sheet, they sit for 12 hours (not in fridge) before baking. The results are excellent, especially for a no-fat cookie. After the 12 hours, they still rise during baking and result in a delicious, chewy (not soft) cookie, my favorite cookie texture.

My question is: Why does it require a 12-hour rest on the counter? What is the purpose of the wait period? What creates the chewy texture?

[Today I decided to make them with 50% buckwheat flour. And I only let them rest 6 hours rather than 12. The result is tasty but not chewy. Buckwheat doesn't have gluten so this makes me wonder if the chewiness has to do with gluten development. Did I just answer my own question???]

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    Have you tried making them with regular flour and a shorter rest period? For a normal (with fat) spice cookie recipe the rest has more to do with letting the flavours develop than the final texture, but it may be completely different for a non-fat recipe. – Johanna May 28 '19 at 8:07
  • I normally make them with either AP or whole wheat pastry flour. Both resulted in the desired chewy texture. While the rest period might be good for flavor development, my gut feeling is that's not the purpose of it. I could be wrong! – Arlo May 28 '19 at 13:41
  • You might be interested in this question. I realize it is different, chilled vs room temp resting, but it may have some relevant information anyway. – Megha Jun 3 '19 at 3:41
  • Although part of the intent might be in how it rises as gretel_f mentions, you're right in that it will affect the chewiness -- letting it sit will provide gluten development, like in no-knead bread recipes. – Joe Jun 14 '19 at 15:05
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There are different types of anise cookies. One particular type is a common guest on my German family's Christmas cookie tray. The recipe I use calls for a over night rest, too, and has a similar ingredients list to yours, so i assume you want to achieve this kind of cookie. It basically looks like a french macaron.

The resting time allows the cookies to dry out a bit and build a kind of skin. This is the reason for the chewiness, as the moisture is preserved during the baking time a bit more than it normally would (same as in bread making). However, it also creates a little signature "foot" (see french macaron). During the baking the cookies rise a little bit, but can't expand as they usually would, because of the skin. So instead they create the little foot.

My grandma was a very impatient person and didn't let them dry over night. She instead dried them in the oven at a low temperature (<100°C) for about 15-20 minutes before baking. However, I like the texture more with the longer drying period. I find it produces a better moisture to crispiness ratio.

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  • What a great answer. I was really hoping to hear from someone who had experience with this cookie. The forming of a skin holding in the moisture makes so much sense. And I love the story of your impatient grandmother. I wonder if this method would work for other cookies to achieve a similar texture. I have some experimenting to do! Thanks so much. – Arlo Jun 15 '19 at 17:05
  • Well, I don't know about cookies in general, but there are several in my book, that require the resting time. Those are mostly egg white based, low/no fat cookies. Any type of maracon for example (the german type are a bit different than the french ones. They all require drying periods, though). Maybe it has something to do with that. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ – Gretel_f Jun 17 '19 at 4:40
  • I've been on a quest to try recipes with no fat and have found a few. Although some have nuts so they probably don't count. Would you be willing to share (or give a link to) some of the recipes with a resting time and no/low fat that you're familiar with (except the French macaron which I can easily find)? I'm curious about the German macaron. – Arlo Jun 18 '19 at 14:02
  • sure! I have quite some favorites, actually. Most of them are with nuts, though, but i wouldn't say that they have nearly the amount of fat that normal cookies have. It's mostly sugar and protein, i guess. I have to translate them to english first, though. :) – Gretel_f Jun 19 '19 at 6:03

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