After making a very satisfying basic biscotti last week, I really had a yearning for the most traditional of flavours: anise. Or aniseed, as it’s often called. This spice appears to be a far more difficult one to acquire over here in England than back in the States. But source it I did (thank you, Amazon).
For those who don’t know, Anise is similar in appearance to Caraway Seeds, but with a liquorice-like taste. I can’t stand liquorice, but still somehow love these little seeds.
I made these on a rainy morning while waiting for a friend to visit. My son occupied me more than I had been expecting, so the biscotti were still in the oven when the friend arrived. As such, I wound up not dipping these in chocolate, as I’d intended. And I think they’re actually better for it! They could do with some finely chopped dried apricots. Or candied ginger! But chocolate dip… I’ll leave that for a different batch, and let the anise sing out nice and clear.
- ½ c whole almonds
- 2¼ c plain flour
- 1½ t baking powder
- ¼ t nutmeg
- ¼ t salt
- 1 T aniseed
- 2 T Disaronno
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ t almond extract
- Toast almonds in oven for 8 min. Let cool.
- While almonds are toasting, mix flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- In a small, microwave-proof bowl, place the aniseed and 1 T of the Disaronno. Microwave 15 sec, or until you see some steam. Set aside.
- Mix sugar and eggs in a stand mixer or bowl with wooden spoon. Add almond extract, aniseed & Disaronno mixture, and the other tablespoon of Disaronno.
- Chop the almonds — more or less in thirds.
- Slowly add the dry mix to the wet mix so that it is just incorporated. This is a very thick mix, so you may want to the last bit without the stand mixer, using either the wooden spoon, or your hands.
- Add the almonds.
- Divide the dough in 2, and place each portion on its own baking sheet. Pat down into slabs that are approximately 2cm deep and no more than 15cmwide.
- Bake 25min.
- Remove from oven, and place on cooling rack for 5 min.
- Move slabs one at a time to cutting board. Carefully cut slices at a 45º angle. I found a large chopping knife to be most effective, but bread knives are often recommended.
- Place cut pieces on their sides back on the baking sheets. Return to oven for 10-15min, or until gently browned.
- Remove from oven, turn all pieces over, and return to oven for a final 10min.
- Place all on a cooling rack.
- They're lovely enjoyed straight from the oven, dipped in a pipping cup of tea or coffee.