Traditional Anise Biscotti

We had a weekend of dinners and laughs. We weren’t able to get much work done on the house, but we didn’t care. We celebrated birthdays, homecomings, and new friends. All of the eating, talking, laughing and sharing reminded me of my Nonnie and how much she would have loved all off it. To honor her and celebrate my cousin’s engagement I made traditional anise biscotti.

Sweet, crunchy, dry and perfectly seasoned biscotti.

In her eyes there was nothing more important than family- or work- or love- or food- or play- or whatever it was that you weren’t doing. In the sweetest of ways she was the master of guilt- thick, sludgy guilt. She would feed our cat leftover spaghetti because she thought he was too thin. She would spoil us at our lake house and let us eat ice cream for breakfast. And she would enjoy her cup of coffee like a true Italian grandmother would, slowly with a piece of toast, pizza again, or biscotti next to it. She was a fine woman, dressed to the nine’s no matter where she was headed- up street, down street, to the grocery store, or a fancy dinner.

Thinking of her made me want to make pasta, but I was short on time, instead I cleaned off the counter and attempted my first traditional anise biscotti. I’ve made holiday biscotti for years, it’s full of cranberries, pistachios and anise seed- delicious. But regardless of what it was in- cookies, biscotti, or pizzelles, my Nonnie loved anisette. I also wanted to gift my cousin Gina and her new fiance, Josh with a small engagement gift. I thought a little reminder of their grandmother might be nice.

Traditional Anise Biscotti

{SoNo Baking Company Cookbook}

30 biscotti

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt (I didn’t add  any salt)

2 large eggs, at room temperature, slightly beaten

2 teaspoons pure anise extract

1 tablespoon anise seeds

1 cup blanched (slivered) almonds

1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash

Sanding sugar

1. Set oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder; set aside.

3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Beat in the anise extract.

4. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and beat until the flour is absorbed. Fold in the anise seeds and almonds.

5. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, gently roll each half with lightly floured hands into a log about 17 inches long and 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Using two spatulas, carefully transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet. Press down on the tops of the logs with your palm to flatten. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

6. Bake, rotating the sheet about two-thirds of the way through, until the logs are a light golden brown and spring back when you press down on them at the thickest point, about 20 minutes.

7. Remove the logs from the oven (leave the oven on) and let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using two spatulas, very carefully transfer one log at a time to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut the logs on the diagonal into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying each one on its side, and bake until the biscotti are completely dried and browned on the edges, about 12 minutes.

8. Cool the biscotti for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, on a wire rack. Then transfer them to the rack and let them cool completely.

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