Almond and Anise Biscotti

Five or six years ago I spent the weekend with my aunt at her cabin in Eastern Oregon. While there, she offered me a slice of homemade biscotti. A vision of every coffee shop’s hard, stale, flavorless stick of biscotti wrapped in plastic flashed before my eyes. Thankfully, my manners kicked in before my gag reflex and I said in my most upbeat voice, “sure, I’d love a piece.”

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I cautiously took my first bite, wondering how I was going to get through an entire piece of biscotti. That, my dear friends, is when the angels started singing and every bad experience I’d had with biscotti vanished in a mouth-watering instant. Let’s just say this story ended with me eating more than one piece of biscotti over the course of my stay. Then I copied down the recipe so I could make it myself when I got home. One of the best decisions of my life.

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Here’s what I learned about biscotti:
1. It’s easier to make than you’d think.
2. You don’t have to bake it until it’s completely dried out and disgusting. Who would of thought!
3. Biscotti tastes better when the ingredient list includes booze and English toffee bits. Do not omit either of these ingredients…I can not be responsible for the flavor outcome.
4. If you are on a diet, you might want to stop reading now. 🙂
5. This recipe will win you legions of fans and admirers…if you share.

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I like my biscotti when it’s a little more cookie-like in texture. (Perhaps that means I just like cookies shaped like biscotti? Hmmm.) My aunt prefers her biscotti a little drier than I do. It’s all personal preference and since you’re the baker in this scenario, you can make it as chewy or crispy as you like! Try not to let the power go to your head.

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I do not know the original source of the recipe. I copied it from my aunt’s hand-written recipe, so if the original genius is out there, I’d love to credit him or her. This recipe is one of our all-time favorites and makes our tastebuds so happy! I guarantee if you make it, it won’t last long…especially if you invite me over!

ANISE AND ALMOND BISCOTTI

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 cup softened butter
4 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp anise extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBL anise seed
1/3 cup brandy
1 cup sliced almonds
1 bag of english toffee bits (found in baking section next to chocolate chips)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter and sugar together then add in the eggs and blend thoroughly.

Add in all remaining ingredients (almonds and toffee bits last) and mix.

Drop dough by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet (I spray my sheet with cooking spray first), forming two long strips or smooth log-shapes. It should look like this:

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Bake 30 – 35 minutes at 350 degrees. The logs are going to spread out a little during the baking process – this is fine.

Remove biscotti from oven and reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Let biscotti logs cool slightly and then cut into 3/4 inch slices. Leave on the cookie sheet. If the edge pieces are already “done” to your liking, you can take those off the cookie sheet now, otherwise, they will just get crispier. It should look like this:

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Put sliced biscotti back into the oven and bake about 20 minutes more (at 300 degrees) until the biscotti is dried to your likeness. If you like your biscotti softer and more cookie-like, take out earlier. If you like your biscotti super crunchy, you may want to leave it in a little longer depending on how your oven bakes.

Enjoy!

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