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Anise-Almond Biscotti

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Not All Biscotti is Created Equal

Give these diverse and festive treats a whirl. Or a swirl in coffee. Or wine?

Biscotti is an Italian almond biscuit that is baked twice for a dry, crunchy texture that often is quite hard. People enjoy biscotti with their morning espresso or coffee, where they dip the biscuit into the drink to soften it up. Traditionally, biscotti was made hard to help extend its shelf life. The first biscotti, often referred to as Biscotti di Prato, were created in 14th-century Tuscany in the city of Prato and were made from almonds, which were abundant in the region. Consequently, biscotti turned out to be the ideal food to store. They soon became a favored provision of sailors, including Christopher Columbus, who traveled at sea for months at a time with the crunchy cargo. It wasn't until the 1990s that biscotti became a treasured American favorite.  Soon biscotti were everywhere: at elegant Italian restaurants, in hip cafes, and even on humble coffee carts. Food writers dubbed biscotti the cookie of the '90s.

The happy marriage between cookie and drink followed shortly. As biscotti is semi-sweet (more nutty than sugary), you can also enjoy it with various dessert wines.  Vin Santo is often paired with a biscotti as it is an amazing pairing. 

Vin Santo is a sweet Italian wine that is produced in Tuscany and is adored for its intense flavors of hazelnut, raisin, and caramel.  Vin Santo translates to Saint Wine (Holy Wine) because it, or a variant of it, was popularly served at Catholic Mass.

In modern Italy, Vin Santo is served as a digestive at the end of a meal after espresso and is considered a vini da meditazioni (meditation wine), meaning Vin Santo is meant to be sipped slowly while you reflect on the day.

When the biscotti and Vin Santo merge, the wine softens the cookie and the cookie cushions the intense sweetness of the fortified wine.  Meanwhile, the cookie absorbs the caramel and hazelnut flavors of the wine, saturating your taste buds with their delicious flavors.

Here are a few recipes to help you get your biscotti on!

Anise-Almond Biscotti
Makes about 3 dozen


  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder,
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fennel (anise) seed, ground
  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg white


Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.

Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract and ground anise in large bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.

Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer both logs to a prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart.

Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over the top and sides of each dough log.

Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 30 minutes. Cool for five minutes on the original cooking sheet, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Maintain oven temperature.

Transfer the two logs to a work surface; discard parchment paper.

Using a serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 1/2-inch-wide slices.  Arrange slices, cut side down, on the original baking sheet, and bake for 12 minutes. Turn biscotti over; return to oven, and bake until just beginning to color about 8 minutes.

Transfer to rack and cool. (The biscotti can be prepared one week ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti
Makes about 28 biscotti


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 egg white
  • 6 ounces of good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's), chopped, or white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.

Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, 2 eggs, and almond extract in a large bowl until well blended. Mix in flour mixture, then dried cranberries.

Divide dough in half using floured hands. Shape each piece into 2 1/2-inch-wide, 9 1/2- inch-long, 1-inch-high log. Transfer both logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly.

Whisk egg white in a small bowl until foamy; brush egg white glaze on top and sides of each log.

Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 35 minutes. Cool for five minutes on the cooking sheet, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Maintain oven temperature.

Transfer logs to a work surface. Discard parchment. Using a serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on the same sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the biscotti over. Bake until just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Transfer biscotti to rack.

Stir chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth. Remove from over water. Using a fork, drizzle chocolate over biscotti. Let stand until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

(Can be made 1 week ahead. Freeze in an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature.)

Orange Nutty Biscotti
Makes 2 dozen biscotti


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped almonds or other nuts of your choice.


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together at high speed with an electric mixer for five minutes, or until foamy. Add the orange zest, oil, vanilla, orange juice, and almond extract, beating until blended.

Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the sugar mixture, beating well. Fold in the almonds by hand.

Cover the dough in the mixing bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for two hours until firm.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into a 5 × 8-inch log on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm.

Cool the dough logs on the baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, cut each log diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Return the biscotti to the greased baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake for 15 more minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Blue Cheese, Port, and Walnut Biscotti

Makes 40 biscotti


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons port wine
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts


In a small microwavable bowl, microwave the butter for 0-60 seconds to melt it.

Stir in crumbled blue cheese and stir until the mixture is blended (if necessary, microwave for 20 to 30 seconds).

In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.

In another large bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Stir in butter-cheese mixture and port until smooth. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture until blended. Stir in nuts.

Divide dough into 2 pieces and shape (if sticky, lightly flour hands) each into a log about 10 inches long. Place about 4 inches apart on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet. Flatten tops slightly.

Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 30 minutes or until pale golden and not quite firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for three minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board and slice into 1/2-inch diagonal slices with a serrated knife.

Place pieces on a baking sheet and return to 325F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until firm and dry. Turn over partway through cooking time. Cool on rack.

  • Anise-Almond Biscotti
  • Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti
  • Blue Cheese, Port and Walnut Biscotti
  • Orange Nutty BIscotti