Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter. Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric handheld mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and milk and beat for another few minutes. Sift the flour into the bowl and add the salt, ground anise seed (aniseed), if using, and baking powder. Using a metal spoon gently fold in the dry ingredients. Fold in the Pernod, if using. Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it in half. Roll each piece into a sausage shape and cut into 1¼ inch/3 cm slices. Put the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets spaced well apart. Brush with a little milk and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool, then store in an airtight container.