Anise extract comes from steeping anise seeds in liquor to infuse the alcohol with a licorice flavor. Anise flavoring is used in sweet baked goods in small amounts, but the Romans of the first century nibbled on anise seeds after meals in hopes of aiding their digestion, according to Chow. When using substitutions in recipes, make notes on the success of the anise extract replacement, according to your taste buds.
Since extracts are alcohol-based, recipes take into account that some of the alcohol will evaporate during cooking. This does not happen with anise oil, often used as a candy ingredient. Lacking alcohol to burn off, anise oil has a more concentrated flavor, so use less in your recipe. Begin with 1/8 tsp. of anise oil to replace each tsp. of anise extract; increase the amount drop by drop until you reach the desired flavor and aroma.
Anise flavored liquors have less anise flavor. A long list of anise flavored drinks from many countries offers a wide range of options. Look for French anisette, Italian sambuca, Spanish ojen, Libyan kasra or Greek ouzo. For any of these use 1 to 2 tbsp. to replace each tsp. of anise extract.
Replace each tsp. of anise extract with 2 tsp. of aniseed. Before adding the seed to the recipe, toast the seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. This step increases the flavor from the seeds and makes them easier to grind. Crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or small food grinder to a fine powder and add to the dry ingredients in your recipe.
Preground aniseed found on the baking aisle should be a last resort to replacing anise extract. Ground spices quickly lose their flavoring after processing. Even a new bottle of anise powder could lack any taste from improper or too long storage. Smell your anise powder before using in your recipe. It should smell of sweet licorice. Replace 1 tsp. of anise extract with ½ tsp. of anise powder and add it to the dry ingredients in your recipe.
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