Italian Anise Biscotti Recipe

This recipe for Italian biscotti with anise, is adapted from a recipe from my grandmother, nonna Carolina, who was born near Naples, and brought this recipe to the USA from Italy. They are a breakfast treat in Naples and along the Amalfi Coast.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. (225 grams) butter
  • 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 5 cups (630 grams) flour
  • 2 tsp (30 grams) baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) anise seed
  • Additional 2-3 cups flour

Preparation

Cut the butter into chunks and place it in a large mixing bowl. Work it with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until it is soft. Mix in the sugar and salt until it is soft and  creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the vanilla.

Gradually add the 5 cups of flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly. Mix in the anise seeds. Now add a cup of the additional flour, at a time, working it in with your hands until you have a dough that is not too sticky and can be lightly handled- don’t overdo the flour.

Form the dough into 6 logs, and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with a cloth and let rest 30-60 minutes.

Bake the biscotti logs at 350° F (180° C) for 20-25 minutes, until golden. They will rise somewhat and now look like long thin loaves of bread. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, then with 2 spatulas, transfer one loaf at a time to a cutting board. Cut the loaves with a serrated knife into diagonal slices about ½ ” (1.25 cm)  thick. Place the slices, cut side down, back on the baking sheet and return them to the oven for about 8 minutes, until they are golden. Cool on racks. Stored in covered tins, these biscotti will keep for a month. Makes about 6 dozen biscotti-you can cut the recipe in half, using 3 eggs.

These simple Italian biscotti are typical of southern Italy, where anise flavor is popular, but you can also make a variation of these biscotti with almonds. To make Italian almond biscotti, omit the anise seeds, and mix in 1 ½ cups of toasted almonds that have been roughly chopped. Add ¼ tsp of almond extract to the batter along with the vanilla. Buon appetito!

Enjoy dunking these biscotti while thinking about the Amalfi Coast.