My Mother's Best Biscotti
Biscotti, which literally means twice-baked, is a traditional Italian cookie that’s named after its baking process. These cookies are actually baked twice and made purposely dry and hard because they are meant to be dunked in a drink, such as coffee, tea, or wine. This particular biscotti is one of my mother’s signature cookies and the best biscotti recipe ever. It’s perfectly flavored with almonds, anise and vanilla.
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons anise flavoring or black anise seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped almonds (toasted)
Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Sift the flour, black anise seeds (if using seeds instead of flavoring), baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Step 3: Beat butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Step 4: Beat in eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, almond extract and anise flavoring (if not using the seeds).
Step 5: Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in almonds.
Step 6: Divide dough into 2 equal portions, about 15 ounces each.
Step 7: Form dough into two logs about 1-1/2" wide by 14" long. Put on a baking sheet about 3" apart.
Step 8: Brush the top of each log with egg whites.
Step 9: Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Step 10: Remove logs from oven and reduce oven temperature to 250°F.
Step 11: Allow cookie logs to cool and become firm for 2 or 3 minutes after removal from oven before attempting to slice it, and use a very sharp knife to prevent the fragile slices from breaking. Cut logs into 1/2" slices, and put the cut-side up on baking sheets. Instead of a baking sheet, my mom turns a cookie rack upside down and places the cookies on the rack.
Step 12: Bake until dried, 30 to 40 minutes. If using a baking sheet, turn cookies over after 15-20 minutes. If using the cookie rack, it's not necessary to turn the cookies over.