Notes: Butter can be used instead of lard, but the texture and flavor of the cookies will not be as authentic. Store cookies airtight up to 3 days; freeze to store longer.
about 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (1/2 lb.) lard
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 to 1 teaspoon anise seed
1 large egg
1/4 cup medium-dry sherry, brandy, or orange juice
1 tablespoon Chinese five spice or ground cinnamon
How to Make It
Mix 3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat lard, 2/3 cup sugar, and anise seed until fluffy.
Beat in egg until blended.
On medium speed, mix in sherry.
Add dry ingredients. Stir to combine, then beat until well blended.
On a plate, mix remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and Chinese five spice.
Divide dough in half. Pat each half into a ball. On a well-floured board, roll dough, a portion at a time, 1/4 inch thick. With a flour-dusted cookie cutter (plain or a simple design, about 1 1/2 in. wide), cut dough into shapes.
One at a time, dip top of each cookie in spiced sugar, pressing lightly so sugar sticks. Set cookies, sugar side up, about 1/2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Gather dough scraps into a ball, roll out, and cut more cookies.
Bake cookies in a 325° oven until bottoms are golden, about 10 minutes (if using 1 oven, switch pan positions after 5 min.). Transfer to racks to cool. Serve, or let cool and package airtight.