Iron vs Sugar

Today is Michael and my 6 year wedding anniversary! It’s hard to believe it has been so many years! Someone asked recently what the gift was for six years. I had no idea, and we haven’t really tried too hard each year to participate in this funny tradition. For our first anniversary, we bought tickets to see a band in honor of giving paper. I’m guessing they decided on paper because you are most likely broke and if you give your partner a card you’ve accomplished the gift. We hadn’t done anything in between (2 cotton, 3 leather, 4 linen/silk) until last year when I got crafty and wrote a note on a piece of wood and framed it. For year six, I discovered  in the US it is customary to give iron and in the UK sugar.

I thought it a bit strange to give Michael something made of iron (we recently bought an antique cast iron skillet which is probably the most logical iron item), so I opted for the UK version sugar. How could I not choose to make something with sugar? One of Michael’s favorite flavors is Anise, and I don’t make it often. It’s not a flavor I love and I guess that makes me a bit selfish. I’m getting used to it in moderation, and I especially like it with biscotti. Had I been up a lot earlier, I would have had biscotti and coffee ready for him, but I didn’t start baking soon enough and we were out of coffee filters. Oops. Well, biscotti will be a nice treat throughout the week and we had some delicious Stumptown coffee from Jane this morning instead. I thought he might appreciate biscotti rather than a 5lb bag of sugar (my preference) or something iron. The biscotti don’t require a lot of skill, but you do have to keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, I hope you try out these delicious treats! Happy Anniversary Love!

Chocolate Almond Anise Biscotti

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 T anise seeds
  • 3/4 C almond pieces
  • 1/2 C chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. In the standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar for about 5 minutes. Add eggs and extract and continue to cream on medium low speed. Mix together the flour, soda, powder and salt. Turn the speed down to low, and add a little bit of flour incorporating slowly. Just before it is all mixed in, add the anise seeds and mix a few more turns. Add the nuts and chocolate and mix until evenly distributed – about 15 more seconds.

Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment and divide the dough into two. Shape into logs about 2 inches wide and 11 inches long with a large space between them. Bake for 25 minutes or until the logs are golden. Remove from oven and slide the silpat onto a cutting board. Pull the mat from under the logs so you can cut them into pieces. I like to cut them on a bias so you have longer pieces. Cut into slices from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Place cut side down back on the mat (which you replaced back on the baking sheet even though I hadn’t told you to yet). Bake another 5 minutes, remove from oven and flip, and finish with another 5 minutes in the oven. Cool completely on the baking sheet and store in an airtight container for 3 weeks at room temperature, or freeze some for up to three months. Makes about 3 dozen cookie sticks.

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