Anise & Orange Biscotti! These classic, crunchy, almond cookies are flavored with anise seeds and orange zest. Perfect for dunking into coffee, espresso or dessert wine.
Hey guys, I think it’s time we start collecting up cookie recipes for the baking season! Don’t you? Let’s start with Anise & Orange Biscotti!
I love biscotti because they really are easy to make and they keep for weeks. I also like that biscotti are hard and crunchy and are just begging to be dipped into coffee or espresso. The firm texture means they’re perfect for packing into holiday gift boxes or bags.
When I’m posting a recipe I often have a old favorite that I rely on, at least as a starting point. I’ve been making my favorite Oatmeal Cookie recipe forever, so I had that recipe all ready to go when I posted it. I’ve done about a million versions of shortbread, but most of those recipes start from my basic shortbread dough.
I got a hankering for a crunchy biscotti and wanted to add a good recipe to my collection. But the only biscotti recipe I had on hand was one from my very first job after graduating from pastry school. I worked for an amazing Austrian pastry chef whose recipes I still use to this day. But I didn’t remember that particular biscotti recipe being exceptional or memorable.
So I started pretty much from square one to create this recipe. Square one means scouring the internet and my cookbooks for recipes to compare and contrast. I narrowed down my choices to a handful of recipes that looked promising. Usually, when I do this, I’m amazed at how similar, and often identical, the recipes are. But the biscotti recipes I’d gathered were wildly variable.
Some of the recipes had no fat whatsoever, some had butter and others had olive oil. A few of the recipes use the “creaming method” for mixing and others simply have you melt the butter and mix it all together.
I wanted a little fat in the cookie for flavor, but I didn’t want so much that the biscotti didn’t have the characteristic hard bite. I used a little olive oil because, well, it is an Italian cookie so that just seemed to make sense to me.
Most of the recipes had a good bit of sugar in them, 2-3cups. I opted to use a little less than that because I wanted a subdued sweetness in the cookie. The Demerara sugar on top adds a bit of sweet flavor too.
I was most amazed at the vast differences in the amounts of flour in the recipes, from 1.5 cups to almost 6 cups. I figured 6 cups of flour would make a super-dense and extremely dry cookie. But cookies made with less than 2 cups might not hold up to a good dunking in a cup of espresso. So I pretty much split the difference and used an amount somewhere between the two extremes.
I got the idea to add a hint of cornmeal from a recipe by Lidia Bastianich. I’m a huge Lidia fan and I thought cornmeal would give the cookie a crunchy, but slightly crumbly texture. I used cornmeal in my Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake for the same reason.
Once I sorted out the ingredients, I went ahead a baked a batch to see how they’d turn out. As soon as I mixed the recipe I realized that the dough was a bit too dry. I quickly added another egg. Now the dough had a nice pliable, yet firm, texture. They baked up exactly as I was hoping they would. They’re light, yet substantial enough for dunking.
The anise flavor is very traditional and I love the combination with the orange zest and big chunky almonds. I hope you like them as much as I do. Try them dunked in coffee, or in a nice dessert wine.
Watch this video to see how-to make Anise & Orange Biscotti:
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