Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Old Fashioned Italian Biscotti

If you like the flavour of anise (rhymes with amiss), these old-fashioned Italian biscotti will surely delight you. They are popular at Easter, Christmas, traditional Italian weddings or anytime.

Biscotti means “twice cooked” and so these anise cookies are. The double baking gives them a characteristic dryness, which is excellent for flavour and dunking too. They keep well baked this way, in case you should want to send some to a loved one far away.

Many people today take shortcuts to the original recipe by using anise extract instead of seeds and using the quick drop method instead of the log method. But this old recipe is a little different and I think makes a tremendous cookie, See if you agree.

Recipe from “The Italian Cooking Class Cookbook, Beekman House, NY 1982

Anise Cookies                                          Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies


¾ cup (4 ounces/115g) whole blanched almonds

2 ¼ cups (560ml) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (180ml) sugar

½ cup (125ml) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (30ml) brandy

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 tablespoon whole anise seeds


Heat oven to 375F (189C)

Put the almonds in baking pan

Bake about 7 minutes or until light brown

Remove to a plate and let cool

Chop the cooled almonds coarsely
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl

In medium mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition

Scrape sides of bowl and stir in brandy and lemon peel
Add the flour blend and stir until smooth

Now stir in the almonds and anise seeds

Put the dough in the ice-box and refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour, to get firm

Heat oven again to 375F/190C

Grease 1 large baking sheet

Divide the dough in half

Spoon half the dough in a row, lengthwise, on one side of the sheet

Spread top and sides even with a spatula (or back of a spoon)

Spread to form a 12x2 inch (30x5cm) log, dough will be fairly soft

Pat the surface smooth using lightly floured fingertips

Repeat this procedure with remaining half of dough to form second log

Bake 20-25 minutes or until the logs are a light golden brown

Leave the oven on but remove the baking sheet to a wire rack to let cool

Lower the oven heat to 350F/180C

When logs are completely cooled off, cut diagonally with a serrated knife

Cut into ½ inch (1.5cm) thick diagonal slices

Place the slices flat in a single layer on 2 ungreased baking sheets

Bake 8 minutes then turn over and re-bake 10 minutes longer

Remove cookies to wire rack and cool completely

When cooled, put in tightly covered container, where they will keep for several weeks if they don't get eaten up first.

If you or your children have never had anise cookies, I hope you will bake these soon. This old-fashioned style of baking has a long history behind it. For instance, sailors used to bring hardtack biscuits with them on voyages because they kept well. Anise cookies just plain taste good.



Anonymous said...

These would go well with a mug of hot chocolate or coffee.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They sound good. Didn't know it meant twice baked.

Torviewtoronto said...

these cookies look wonderful anise seeds in it would have tasted good

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Thanks Anthony for the clarification on pronouncing "Anise"!
Duncan In Kuantan

Eat To Live said...

This is one thing I have made before for the Hubs!! He doesn't like the Anise or the lemon so I use plain ole vanilla when I make it for him. I have never tried it with the brandy though...

Prathima Rao said...

This looks too good!!!
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

anthony stemke said...

SUSANNE DRAZIC: Absolutely correct. Thanks, Kathy says hello.

ALEX J CAVANAUGH: Delicious biscotti, from medieval Latin bis and coctus, meaning twice cooked.
Thanks for visiting.

TORVIEWTORONTO: Delicious old-fashioned taste. a great cookie. Thanks for calling.

DUNCAN D HORNE: Thanks Duncan, although sometimes, in British Isles, many words are pronounced differently than in USA. Even here some people say: aneese. Thanks for caling, best wishes to you and the girls.

MY JOURNEY WITH CANDIDA: I know a lot of people who do not care for anise flavour, I personally love it, even have smoked anise-flavoured cigars and enjoyed them.
I bet the twice-baked cookies of yours with vanilla are good too.
Take care Terry.

PRATHIMA RAO: These cookies are unusual and delicious too. Thanks for calling.

Missed Periods said...

I've been pronouncing it wrong this whole time!

Manzanita said...

Another recipe for festive food of the holiday. I too love dunking them.

anthony stemke said...


MANZANITA: I agree and you're right, they are perfect for dunking.

Kalyan Panja said...

Just mouthwatering...looks lovely!

Magia da Inês said...

º° ✿彡
Olá, amigo!
Deliciosa combinação: amêndoas e anis. Saboroso e aromático.
Bom domingo! Boa semana!
Beijinhos do Brasil
✿ °•.¸

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

yum! These sound so scrummy!

Anonymous said...

They look awesome. I can smell them now. I did not know what Biscotti meant until now. Learn something new every day!

Lynn Proctor said...

i have recently fallen in love with biscotti!!

Joyti said...

Your post reminded me that anise is the one spice my kitchen is missing.
I like that you stuck to the older version of the recipe and used anise seed instead of extract and didn't use the drop method (which makes for a rather messy cookie). These sound really delicious.

Purabi Naha said...

Anthony, these cookies with almond, brandy and the citrus factor must be great, no doubt about it! I loved the main ingredient, i.e., anise! Never tried anise while baking cookies. Sounds different and brilliant!


Sarah said...

I've never tried anise or biscotti!!! the ingredient list of this biscotti is amazing! what an amazing medley of flavors!

Samantha Vérant said...

Anise cookies would be perfect for an apero-- served with Pastis! Bookmarking this recipe!

anthony stemke said...

KALYAN P: Thank you, I agree.

MAGIA DA INES:Oi amigo.Obrigado pela visita, fico feliz em ouvir que você gosta destes cookies.Desejo-vos dias felizes.

anthony stemke said...

LYNDA R YOUNG: Scrummy describes them perfectly. Thank you.

STEPHEN TREMP: Thank you Stephen, I learn a lot from you too.

anthony stemke said...

LYNDA R YOUNG: Scrummy describes them perfectly. Thank you.

STEPHEN TREMP: Thank you Stephen, I learn a lot from you too.

anthony stemke said...

LYNN PROCTOR: Now that's a romance to envy.

JOYTI: Hi Joyti. I love anise, tarragon, fennel etc. Thank you for your kinds words.

anthony stemke said...

PURABI NAHA: They are great cookies, I hope you bake some soon.

SARAH: What a sweet way to describe these biscotti, thank you

anthony stemke said...

SAMANTHA VERANT: I bet you are near Provence. A gouter of Pastis with these biscotti sounds fabulous. Ooh la la.

Unknown said...

I'm a fan of anise flavor and these biscotti look amazingly good and crispy.

anthony stemke said...

MALLI DAS: Thanks, it's a good recipe.

anthony stemke said...

MALLI DAS: Thanks, it's a good recipe.

anthony stemke said...

MALLI DAS: Thanks, it's a good recipe.

Magia da Inês said...

♡ Feliz Páscoa!!!

Linda said...

They sound really good, thank you for sharing. I often drink a cup of anise tea.

Susan Oloier said...

These sound wonderful, Anthony.
Hope all is well with you and your family.

anthony stemke said...

MAGIA DA INES: Belated Feliz Pascoa!

LINDA: These with anise tea sounds wonderful. Thanks for your visit.

SUSAN OLOIER: Thanks for calling Susan, I know how busy you must be. My best to Zane.

mail4rosey said...

I didn't know it meant 'twice cooked,' and these look delicious. :)

anthony stemke said...

MAIL4ROSEY: These are quite delicious cookies. Thanks.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Ha! I didn't realise biscotti means “twice cooked”. They sound yum.

Purabi Naha said...

Anise cookies...I have never tried them, although I have tried biscotti before and loved the taste. Anthony, I loved this recipe. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Yummy cookies, looks so crispy.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Delicious as always. wrote you a reply abput Kathy on my blog!
jean xox

Joanne said...

Mmm that's one of my favorite flavors! Such great cookies!!

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Biscotti and strong, strong coffee. Sounds perfect, Anthony!

Misha Gerrick said...

This sounds nice. Reminds me of something in my country called rusks.

How are you doing?

Unknown said...

Love these delicious anise flavored Biscotti. Delicious cookies!!

AdriBarr said...

These look wonderful - what a classic cookie!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Dear Anthony--I am glad I finally know how to pronounce anise ! Thank you for stopping by today--and as for Kathy, she is as talented as you are, only in her own way! It is a pleasure to know you both! xox jean

Unknown said...

When I open your RSS feed it seems to be a bunch of strange characters, is the malfunction on my reader?
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Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

This is truly the classic biscotti (or contucci as we called it) that my entire family enjoyed growing up to this dry day Anthony! I live in SC now and there is a very famous little eatery here called "Grits and Groceries". Are you associated with it? I am trying to find your background on your blog. I'm glad to be one of your newest followers and hope to read some of your recipes again!
La Bella Vita Cucina

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