Almond Anise Biscotti

My elementary school art teacher taught me the word “kick”. No, she didn’t kick us… but she did teach about “short-lived obsessions.” This is the best I can do to describe a “kick” if you haven’t heard it in context. She was a little wacky as all fantastic elementary art teachers should be and she would announce each time she had a new kick. Her kicks were ever changing and comprised of colors, animals, or even words. But my kicks tend to revolve around an ingredient, or type of food. I’ve been on muffin kicks and homemade bread kicks, but not until recently have I been dreaming of biscotti. I’d say it’s a kick in the making.

I had this biscotti recipe bookmarked for a really long time. I’m guessing about a year. Strange as it seems, I was a little perplexed by biscotti. They are basically twice baked cookies if Italian origin and you enjoy them with your coffee. It’s like an adult version of cookies and milk. M really likes biscotti, especially if it has a hint of anise. I have not had many biscotti in my day which may be the reason I never made them until now. I used a recipe only slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan. They have cornmeal, which gives them a chewy factor along with the crunch. When I make the next batch, there are some proportions I should follow versus following the recipe so closely. The cookie should be a little higher and thinner. I argued that I followed the 3/4 inch direction, but M says higher and skinnier. I’ll also try a completely different flavor combination too.

Short and fat, or tall and skinny, they taste nice.  They are not overwhelmingly anise-y or I’d have left them all for M. I think I’d take it up another two notches or use anise oil next time for a more intense flavor. Dipping in chocolate is a necessity, and M found by accident they are delicious frozen. I hope to share more biscotti recipes with you soon… especially if this kick really evolves into something tangible.

Almond Anise Biscotti
adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours

1 1/2 C  + 2T flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C yellow cornmeal
1/2 C butter
3/4 C sugar
2 tsp anise seed
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 C sliced almonds
1 drop anise oil (optional)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Mix flower, baking powder, cornmeal, salt in a medium bowl.
In a mini food processor or blender, mix anise seed with half the sugar. Blend until the seeds are broken up and the sugar starts to smell faintly of anise.

Cream butter in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and anise sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and make sure to scrape the bowl a few times. Add extract and mix in. Mix in the flour on low speed until almost incorporated. Add the almonds and mix until incorporated.

On a silicone mat lined baking sheet, form the dough into a 12″ long log. Alternately, you can make two 12 inch logs side by side. Log should be about just over an inch high. Bake 15 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and place on a cutting board. Slice the dough into 1/2 inch pieces – no need to discard the ends! Set them back on the baking sheet with a little room in between each (top should face up). Bake for 15-20 more minutes or until the edges are golden and firm. Cool on a rack and store airtight.

For the Chocolate
Melt 6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave.
Dip half of the cooled biscotto (singular) into the chocolate and set on a silicone mat or parchment to harden. Store in an airtight container or freeze. You can also leave them out if you really want them to get crunchy – they will last a week or so without freezing.

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