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???]