BISCOTTI DELLA NONNA
ITALIAN ANISE BISCOTTI
The original recipe for these Italian biscotti with anise traveled from Naples to America with my grandmother. She used to dunk biscotti in her morning caffe latte, a popular tradition in Naples and along the Amalfi Coast.
Cut the butter into chunks and place it in a large mixing bowl. Work it with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until it is soft. Mix in the sugar and salt until it is soft and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the vanilla.
Gradually add the 5 cups of flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly. Mix in the anise seeds. Now add a cup of the additional flour, at a time, working it in with your hands until you have a dough that is not too sticky and can be lightly handled- don’t overdo the flour.
Form the dough into 6 logs, and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with a cloth and let rest 30-60 minutes.
Bake the biscotti logs at 350° F (180° C) for 20-25 minutes, until golden. They will rise somewhat and now look like long thin loaves of bread. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, then with 2 spatulas, transfer one loaf at a time to a cutting board. Cut the loaves with a serrated knife into diagonal slices about ½ ” (1.25 cm) thick. Place the slices, cut side down, back on the baking sheet and return them to the oven for about 8 minutes, until they are golden. Cool on racks. Stored in covered tins, these biscotti will keep for a month. Makes about 6 dozen biscotti-you can cut the recipe in half, using 3 eggs.
These simple Italian biscotti are typical of southern Italy, where anise flavor is popular, but you can also make a variation of these biscotti with almonds. To make Italian almond biscotti, omit the anise seeds, and mix in 1 ½ cups of toasted almonds that have been roughly chopped. Add ¼ tsp of almond extract to the batter along with the vanilla. Buon appetito!
Enjoy dunking these biscotti while thinking about the Amalfi Coast.