Source: Nonna (my grandmother) 1980’s
Biscotti have been a family tradition for over four generations. My mom has been making these hard, Italian cookies for as long as I’ve been around. Now, I”m making my own.
Historically, the biscotti was made and designed for the Roman Legions. They were a main staple of theirs upon their long journey’s throughout Europe. When the Roman empire fell, so did the demand for these cookies. It wasn’t until the Renaissance time where food saw its revival. Biscotti was one of them. Hailing from the northern regions of Tuscany, the Tuscan bakers would make and serve these with the local, sweet wine. The name “bis” in Latin means twice. This explains why these cookies have lived up to their long standing name and traditional method of baking for centuries.
Over the years, I have been able to enjoy biscotti cookies from my nonna, my aunties, and other Italian friends. One great biscotti memory was from a wonderful old Italian friend nick-named, “Chick”. He was a spirited old devil, who would get in his kitchen every December and bake several batches of his biscotti cookies for all his compadres.
We were lucky enough to be in his group, and would get his famous christmas delivery every year. They were delicious, but a bit different than our recipe, but delicious. Which goes to show you, there are a lot of variations out there on the biscotti. Now, we even see them dipped in white or dark chocolate, small or large shaped, with almonds or hazelnuts, and the options go on. I’m simple however. I like my biscotti long and hard. I prefer almonds to hazelnuts, and no chocolate for me, please.
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp sea salt fine
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbs anise seeds
- 4 cups whole almonds or hazelnut coarsly chopped
- 4 eggs large & organic
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg white for brushing
- 2 cups sugar plus extra for sprinkling
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbs almond liquor such as Disaronno or Amaretti
- Adjust oven rack to lower middle and upper positions and heat oven to 325*. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat eggs, egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light, about 2 minutes, beat in vanilla, liquor and anise.
- chop nuts
- Combine wet with dry ingredients and then almonds to form sticky but workable dough.
- On your paper lined baking sheet, pour the dough in the center of the sheet. You might use 1 sheet, or 2, depending on the amount of batter.
- Begin your first bake. Place sheet in oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until firmly set and a golden brown color. This step the cookies are almost baked.
- Take sheet out, and slice about 1″ thick sticks, so cut on a diagonal. paint on egg white, sprinkle top w/ a tad of sugar and return to a reduced oven at 100-150 Celsius to dry out and harden This step usually takes 30-45 min.
- take out when finished and let cool completely. Biscotti’s should be hard and strong.
- here is how they look from the side