A quick and lovely recipe with wonderful anise flavor. This recipe is adapted from my dear friend Michele Mazurowski and has Italian-American roots.
Preheat oven to 375F/190C
In a stand mixer, cream vegetable shortening and sugar for 3-5 minutes on medium.
Add eggs, mixing until incorporated between each egg.
Measure out dry ingredients, mix together, then slowly add to the sugar/egg/shortening mixture on low speed.
Add anise extract, oil, and milk and mix until fully incorporated.
Form dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter and place on a lined baking sheet. Dough balls can be placed relatively close together because this cookie does not get much bigger during baking.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies begin to crack a bit on top. You don't want the cookies to brown at all.
Allow cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the icing, combine all ingredients and mix well. You want the consistency to be thick. Test out a cookie or two and add more milk if you need to think out the icing.
Dip each cookie into the icing, shake off excess, place on a rack and immediately decorate with sprinkles and then allow them to dry completely until the icing is set.