You Can Use Anise Extract In Place Of The Seed, But There's One Caveat

Known for its licorice flavor, anise is a Mediterranean spice that can bring an aromatic taste to a variety of cuisines including Italian, Indian, and Middle Eastern. Not to be confused with star anise, anise (also known as anise seed) is also a key ingredient in many baked goods like biscotti and other Italian desserts. If you're making a recipe that calls for anise seed, you may be tempted to use anise extract instead if that is all you have on hand. This is possible, as long as you keep in mind that the extract is much more potent.

To give you an idea of the extract's strength, it is often used to flavor liquors, so bakers beware. In order to avoid your recipe from being dominated by the strong licorice flavor of anise extract, it is wise to use much less of it than you would anise seed. Generally, using a measurement that is about half of what the recipe calls for will work when substituting in anise extract. For instance, you can use 1 teaspoon of extract instead of 2 teaspoons of the seeds.

Other uses for anise extract

Just because the taste of anise extract is quite potent doesn't mean it isn't useful in recipes. In fact, one could make the argument that anise extract is more economical since you have to use less of it. If you want to infuse more of your desserts with an interesting, licorice flavor, you can replace vanilla extract in a recipe with anise extract at an equal ratio. This is a great way to elevate all kinds of cookies and icing. Anise extract is typically used in baking over anise seeds, because the seeds create an unwanted grainy texture.

Once you've developed a taste for anise extract you can use it to spice up beverages. Pour a little into your morning cup of joe or a cozy cocktail to create a more unique flavor. Just remember to start with a couple of drops before adding more. The strong taste of anise may be intimidating, but it's a staple for anyone who cooks with spices. By using small amounts of anise extract, you can make the most of this powerful ingredient.