Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Taste Tip: This dough must be prepared in advance.
2½ cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped pecans
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon and anise seeds, and reserve.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in thirds, mixing until combined. Stir in pecans. Divide dough in half and shape dough into two logs, each 10 inches long. Wrap logs in wax paper and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut dough into ¼-inch thick cookies and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
2010 Finalist: Mary Jane Nickerson of Montevideo, Minnesota