Join Lenora Boyle in Italy, the land of passion and possibilities.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Biscotti Recipe

photo: Italian Cookie Booth at All Things Italian Street Festival, 1st Fridays Art Walk, Fairfield, Iowa 2007

This biscotti recipe is from my friend, Virginia, who adapted it from an original recipe on the Epicurious Blog. She made them for our local All Things Italian Street Festival that takes place annually on the first Friday of June.

Anise-Almond Biscotti
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons aniseed, ground
1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped

Preheat over to 350°F.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract and ground aniseed in large bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.

Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer both logs to baking sheet, placing them apart (I like to cover mine with parchment paper). Wet hands with water and pat over dough.

Bake logs until golden brown (they will spread), about 30 minutes. Let cool completely, about 25 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Transfer logs to work surface. Using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Yield: 36 cookies

You can vary this recipe with the flavorings. The first batch Virginia made she didn't have anise seeds so she added some almond extract; that was great too.

My son, David, and I at the Italian cookie booth.

When my husband, Jay, and I visited San Giovanni di Fiore in Calabria, Italy, near the Sila National Forest, we were on a search for black anise seeds that all my aunts in the United States begged us to find. We easily bought the regular anise all over Italy, but not the prized black ones, until we met a friend of a friend of a friend in this small mountain town. He met us on the side of the highway and we bought the prized tiny black seeds from him in a pound plastic bag for a lot of money. He also would not say where he got them, but that he collected herbs from many people and he had his sources. Without a doubt, I must say, those black anise seeds are the most potent fragrance and taste you can imagine. I gave most of them to my mother my aunts so they could make Easter Bread with it, and what I have left we keep under lock and key. Not really, but it is a prized spice. We actually add a pinch to our spaghetti sauce as Jay's Sicilian grandmother used to do.

We have not used these black seeds for biscotti though. As you probably know, biscotti are wonderful for dipping into your morning coffee.
Do you have any other biscotti recipe that you like?


  1. Hi Lenora, Rich and I used to make batches and batches of biscotti for Christmas baskets. Chocolate-Hazelnut, Orange-Almond, Chocolate-Cherry. I can't even remember all the various kinds - I think I have an old issue of Food & Wine that had a whole bunch of great recipes in it and I also have a cookbook devoted to biscotti. I'll have to loan them to you.

    SO PSYCHED ABOUT ITALY!!! It will be a piece of heaven. Any time I have spent there was just complete bliss - the food is beyond amazing. Even what you would think is the most tourist trap of a place has the most sublime food. You can't go wrong with any of it. The Italians clearly have a passion for the good life... they are wonderful, warm, friendly, and I always immediately felt like I belonged, even though I was clearly a tourist. The feeling was - YOU ARE WELCOME HERE! That just isn't true for a lot of places... (ok - I won't say where, I won't insult anyone). But Italy is just exceptionally wonderful, as well as gorgeous, sublime, and filled with all kinds of things I love - art, architecture, sculpture, great food, happy people, and sun!

  2. Sallee,
    I look forward to trying more biscotti recipes. I'm so glad you are joining us at the La Dolce Vita Retreat also! The food in Italy will be a real treat as will the beauty and architecture all around us. Oh, and did I mention the Mediterranean, the people and the fragrance in the air on the Italian Riviera?