Italian cookies at their best!
Connie was my mother's cousin, a small lady who was sweet and funny, and looked so much like my mother, people actually got them confused. I don't remember much else about her, only that she made the best Biscotti ever. In fact, once I had her crisp, but tender cookies, mildly flavored with anise, I was hooked on homemade. I can't even think of eating a store-bought Biscotti! And, I can promise you this, you won't break a tooth on these cookies.
As you know these "twice-baked" cookies go great with a cup of coffee, espresso, tea or a glass of wine. And if anise isn't your favorite flavor, just switch to almond, lemon, orange or vanilla. But, I love them just as they are, anise is one of my family's favorite flavors. I think it's special to me because it reminds me of spending time with my grandparents, and grandpa would always give us coffee with a little splash of anisette in it...the real Italian way.
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. anise extract OR 1 tsp. anise oil
4 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
dash of salt
Preheat the oven to 350'F . Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, sugar and anise flavoring until well blended. (Here's where you can use your imagination and add chocolate chips, white chocolate, dried cherries, cranberries, chopped nuts (pistachio are delicious), or any number of goodies.)
Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. Divide dough into two pieces. (It will be a bit sticky, but will still keep it's shape.)
Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1/2 inch thickness.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. When The cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet.
Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Watch carefully, or they will burn. Slices should be lightly toasted.
Store in an airtight container. (They make great gifts, too!)
-Change extract to almond; add 1 c. chopped pistachios, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1 c. chopped white chocolate to dough.
-Use almond extract, 1 c. slivered almonds, 1/2 c. chopped dried apricots
-Use vanilla or almond extract & cut back to 3 1/2 c. flour; add 1/2 cup cocoa, 1 cup chocolate chips
(you can also add dried cherries, or dip the finished biscotti in melted dark chocolate)
"To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech." - Proverbs 8:13