She gave samples at the class and the anise flavor was actually quite nice. (Anise is a licorice flavor) I'm not a big fan of anise but ended up really liking the flavor. It's very subtle. the reason for the Hartshorn:
" It is also called bakers' ammonia (ammonium carbonate). It is an ammonia compound and not harmful after baking. However, don't eat the raw dough. Your kitchen will stink of ammonia while the cookies bake - but once baked, the cookies will not taste of it.
"Can be substituted for equal amount of baking powder in any cookies recipe. It is an old-time leavening favored for cookies, such as German Springerle. It is said to give a "fluffiness" of texture baking powder can't. Its leavening is only activated by heat, not moisture (such as baking powder).
STORING: Not affected by age, but will evaporate it not kept in an airtight container."
Unlike baking powder or soda, Baker's Ammonia (ammonium carbonate) leaves no unpleasant alkaline off-flavor in baked goods. It is used for cookies, crackers and cream puff-type pastries, items which are small, thin or porous. It is not used for cakes or other large items because the ammonia gas cannot evaporate from these items. You will notice an odor of ammonia while baking, but this will quickly dissipate and the baked product will not have an odor or taste of ammonia.
Because Baker's Ammonia has a tendency to evaporate when exposed to air, it should be stored in a jar with a tight cover. It will not spoil, but will "disappear" if not stored properly.
BAKER'S AMMONIA (AMMONIUM CARBONATE): Don't confuse this with ordinary household ammonia, which is poisonous. A type of baking powder, it yields a very light, airy product, but can impart an ammonia flavor to baked goods. It's best used in cookies, which are flat enough to allow all of the ammonia odor to dissipate during cooking. Northern Europeans still use it because it makes their springerle and gingerbread cookies very light and crisp. Look for it in German or Scandinavian markets, drug stores, baking supply stores, or a mail order catalogue. It comes either as lumps or powder. If it isn't powdered, crush it into a very fine powder with a mortar & pestle or a rolling pin.