Technically, I should hate these biscotti. I'm not a tremendous fan of nuts -- almonds included -- and I loathe licorice, the flavor of which is imparted to these cookies by copious amounts of anise seed.
And yet, I can't get enough of them. I love the stiff, crumbly texture and the snap of biting into one, letting the crumbs fill your mouth, and washing it all away with a sweet moscato.
These twice-baked Italian cookies come courtesy of my go-to recipe guide, the sure-fire resource, the ninja of my cookbook shelf: The Union Square Cafe Cookbook. Every recipe I've prepared from that book has been an unqualified winner, and the biscotti fall squarely into that category.
The method of preparation is easy, yet engaging. You mix together a dry and crumbly dough, shape it into logs, and bake them. While they're still soft, you slice them into individual cookies and bake them again. The result is a wonderfully crisp dessert that pairs well with just about any sweeter wine.
Photos and recipe after the jump.
Ring of cookies
RECIPE (from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook)
For a whole mess of biscotti (60 or so)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups plus 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp cornmeal
1 1/2 tbsp whole aniseed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Pernod
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 350.
Combine the flour, sugar, almonds, cornmeal, aniseed, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix, on low speed, until the dry ingredients are throroughly incorporated. Add the butter and continue mixing until the dough just holds together. Add the eggs, vanilla, and Pernod and mix until everything comes together in a soft dough.
Divide the dough in half and shape the halves into logs about 4 X 15 inches. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the logs on it. Brush them with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until the logs are golden brown, but still pliable. Let cool. Lower the oven to 325.
Slice the logs into 1/4-inch thick slices and lay the slices on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake the cookies again for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and crisp. Allow to fully cool before serving.