My passion for sweets flavored with anise must be credited to my Zio Mimi who would drive from our hometown of Borgia into the La Sila Mountains to buy Calabrese black anise seeds, renowned for their delicate black licorice flavor. Almost impossible to find stateside, the recipe for Anise Biscotti was developed with the flavor of those anise seeds in mind. Anise Biscotti is an elegant homage to that memory and pairs perfectly with an intense espresso.
To approximate the flavor of the famed Calabrian black anise seeds I substitute the green variety that are easily found here. Lightly toasting the seeds in a skillet on top of the stove accentuates the flavor and fills the kitchen with a fennel-like aroma. Once the scent of anise permeates the room, spill the toasted anise seeds onto a clean plate or counter to prevent burning.
A bottle of Anisette or Sambuca, clear anise-flavored liquors, can be found in almost every Italian-American home and is generally served after dinner with or in a nice espresso. Adding a bit of either of these enhances the anise flavor in the biscotti just enough without overpowering the flavor.
Have you ever noticed how the butter in you refrigerator sometimes takes on the flavor of something you may have stored? Adding flavoring elements like citrus peel, spices, seeds, liquor or extracts to the butter at the early stages of a recipe always elevates the flavors in whatever you may be baking. Keep this in mind whenever you are baking and adjust the steps to accommodate your flavoring elements.
This is the ideal cookie to have on hand for friends who stop in for a chat, espresso, or cup of tea. I also like to serve Anise Biscotti with seasonal fruit or gelato. Whatever you preference, Anise Biscotti will become a favorite of yours as well.
Looking for some new recipes to add to your holiday cookie bake?
- Anginetti Cookies
- Pistachio Brittle – Croccante del Pistacchio
- Sesame Croccante / Brittle – Croccante di Sesamo
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- ⅓ cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tbs. Anisette or clear Sambuca
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbs. anise seeds lightly toasted in a skillet
- 2¼ cup of all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp. of baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 to 4 Tbs. of turbinado sugar
- ⅓ cup of heavy cream
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the freshly grated nutmeg to the dry ingredients
- Place the butter and lemon peel into the work bowl of a standing mixer and beat until fluffy on medium-high speed. Continue to beat the butter, gradually adding the sugar, Anisette or Sambuca, vanilla and anise seeds.
- Add the eggs one at a time for 1 minute each, scraping down after each egg; be sure to scrape down to the bottom of the bowl.
- Remove the work bowl from the mixer and add the dry ingredients by hand using a large spatula. Combine well to be sure that no trace of the dry ingredients appears, however do not over mix the dough.
- Lay three lengths of plastic wrap on the counter, each about 18 inches in length. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions and form a log of dough about 2 to 3 inches wide in the center of each piece of plastic wrap. Smooth the dough logs with your fingers dampened with cold water, do not leave any residual water on the biscotti dough. Wrap the logs with the plastic wrap, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and into the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325º and have the oven rack positioned in the upper and middle third of the oven; line two cookie sheets with parchment. Unwrap the refrigerated biscotti dough and lay two logs on one of the baking sheets about 4 inches apart. Lay the third log on the second baking sheet. Brush the uncooked dough with the heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the logs are golden brown and firm to the touch. Midway through the baking process, reverse the baking sheets from front to back while switching shelves. Remove from the oven to completely cool on wire racks.
- Preheat the oven to 275 º. Once the logs are completely cooled begin to slice into biscotti, one log at a time. Lay the baked log on a cutting board and using a serrated knife with a pressing motion cut into ½ inch diagonal slices. Lay the sliced biscotti back on the parchment lined baking sheet to oven dry for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before storing in an airtight container.