So, some of you who watch daytime soaps may have heard that the cast and crew of All My Children recently re-located from New York to Los Angeles to save production dollars. They have, in fact, moved into the studio space right next to us, and as I write this, I am watching actors on television who we all now see on a regular basis roaming around the lot at work. I have had three Susan Lucci sightings in the last month, and last week the actor who plays Tad almost hit me in the parking lot with his car. Ah, glamorous Hollywood! Soap actors are a very good-looking bunch and have really brightened up the place (it’s not really the most glamorous lot in Los Angeles and I wish I could have seen the look on the faces of all the actors when they drove up for the first day. Seriously, in its worst corners, it looks much like a prison yard).
Over the years, I have checked in on the peeps of Pine Valley. My mom and older sisters watched the entire ABC daytime line-up when it reigned supreme, spearheaded by the Luke and Laura pairing on General Hospital. I remember when Jessie and Jenny ran off to New York. I remember when no one knew Adam Chandler had a mentally challenged brother who was imprisoned within the secret passages of the family mansion. I DON’T remember Erica shouting down the grizzly bear in the middle of the forest after a plane crash, but I DO vaguely remember her going behind her husband’s back and getting on the pill (I remember having no idea what “the pill” was) so she could secretly open her own fabulous disco in the late seventies (early eighties?). And me and about 300 other college students would gather around the big screen tv in the University Center every weekday in the early nineties when evil Janet threw her virtuous and more elegant twin sister Natalie down a well, assumed her identity, and got impregnated by her sister’s husband.
Anyway, deep down, I have always been a bit of a secret star stalker, and I have been trying to devise ways to cross paths with the cast more so than I have thus far. I know, I know… they are there to work, not to be stared at, and I have to respect that. I wouldn’t want anyone bothering me unnecessarily during the day when there’s work to be done. But finally, there’s a little bit of larger-than-life glamour on the lot and I want to bask in it.
I’m thinking I should start leaving little treats next to the AMC stage doors. Maybe they’ll fall in love with my food and invite me over regularly to sit in on tapings, give my notes on story ideas, or, if I absolutely must, step in as an extra in a hospital scene, hanging out next to a vending machine in the waiting room and voicelessly chatting up a peppy nurse. Well, a guy can dream. It’s not like I’m asking them to put me at the head of a boardroom table and proclaim, “You’re all firrrreeeed!” with a sweeping hand gesture, though if they did I would not refuse.
These anise drop cookies could be my way in. They’re not overwhelming. They’re almost forgettable after the first bite, but then that anise extract kicks in (it’s the licorice-like flavoring you may detect in biscotti), and winds itself around you. You can down three or four before you actually realize how tasty they are – soft on the inside with a hardened shell-like covering on the outside. It strikes a nice balance between the subtle and the striking. It’s the perfect daytime actor’s cookie. Look for me quietly ambling through the halls at Pine Valley Hospital within the next four to five months.
Anise Drop Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon anise extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
Put eggs in a bowl and whisk until fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar until incorporated. Mix in the anise extract, then mix in the flour mixture.
Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a coupler or a 1/2-inch plain tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, simply transfer into a ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the corner and use as a pastry bag.
Pipe 1 3/4 inch rounds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 1/2 inch apart.
Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until tops crack and cookies are very pale, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.