Biscotti means literally, twice baked, and they are.
Recipes for variations of hard biscuits go all the way back to ancient societies.
By twice baking, the biscuits have a very long shelf life.
These are excellent dunked in coffee, tea, wine, or bourbon.
- Yield: 25 to 30 biscotti
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: Varies but about 80 minutes including drying out
- Oven: First Bake – 375° F
- Oven: Second Baking – 250° F
- 3 cups / 14-1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1-3/4 cups / 13 ounces sugar
- 1 tablespoon aniseed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 5 drops anise oil
- 1 teaspoon / 5 milliliters vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons / 1-1/2 ounces butter, melted
- 1 cup /4-1/2 ounces whole almonds with skin, lightly toasted , cooled, and rough chopped
- In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, aniseed, and salt and whisk to mix.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine the eggs, anise oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the melted butter and whisk once more.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together into a rough dough.
- Add the almonds to the dough and stir them in.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and continue mixing and kneading by hand until you have a smooth dough.
- Chill dough, covered, 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375° F / 190° C, with the rack in the middle of the oven.
- Using moistened hands, halve dough and form into two loaves, approximately 14 by 3 inches / 35 by 7 centimeters, on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake until pale golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the loaves to a rack and cool 10 minutes.
- Immediately after removing reduce oven temperature to 250° F / 120° C.
- Cut loaves into slices with a serrated knife, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch / 1 to 2 centimeters thick.
- Arrange biscotti, with a cut side down, on a clean baking sheet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
- When cool completely, store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- The length of time to dry out the biscotti will vary depending on how you like them to be. Remember, biscotti, along with a few others like castagnolli, are meant to be dunked in hot coffee. The longer they go in the oven the drier and harder they get.
- If you have never worked with anise oil be aware that a little goes a very long way. If you prefer you can substitute anise extract for the anise oil. If you do start with 1-1/2 teaspoons / 7.5 milliliters extract and adjust it up or down from there.
- Regarding the almonds you can leave them whole, or chop them, or you can chop some and leave some whole. It is an entirely personal preference, I like them either way.
- Regarding the oven temperature you can dry the biscotti out faster by leaving the oven temperature at the same setting as the first baking, but the biscotti tend to brown a great deal more, again personal preference.