Sunday, August 5, 2012

Traditional Anise Biscotti

I am a habitual coffee drinker. Every morning I have at least one cup, and truthfully, I have about three. Coffee not only helps me wake up in the morning, but research has found that coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of strokes and certain cancers and it also decreases your risk for type 2 diabetes and dementia. (So, it's good for me right???)

The only think that I can think of that can make my morning cup of coffee better, is to pair it with biscotti. The dry, sweet, crunchiness pairs perfectly with coffee and who doesn't love a cookie for breakfast. This is the first biscotti recipe that I tried and it turned out so good that I stuck with it and have made it multiple times.  The recipe called for anise seeds, which I did not have, so I used craisins instead and I was very happy with the flavor. 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose 
2 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs, at room temp, lightly beaten 
2 teaspoons pure anise extract
1 cup blanched whole almonds (without skin)
1/4 cup craisins 
1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
Sanding sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and place oven rack in the middle position. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal and baking powder. Set aside. 

2. Using a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and salt on medium - high speed until light and fluffy (2-3min). Add the eggs and beat until blended. Beat in the anise extract. 

3. Reduce speed to low. Add the dry ingredients and beat until flour is absorbed. Fold in the craisins and almonds. 

4. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, gently roll each half to a log about 15-17 inches long and 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Using two spatulas, carefully transfer the logs to the baking sheet. Press down on the tops of the logs with your palm to flatten. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

5. Bake, rotating baking sheet 2/3rds of the way through until the logs are light golden brown and spring back when you press on them at the thickest point - approximately 20 minutes. 

6. Remove logs from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. (keep oven on) Carefully transfer to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut the logs on the diagonal into slices about 3/4 inches thick. Return the slices to the baking sheet laying each on on its side and back until the biscotti are completely dried and browned on the edges - about 12 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and place baking sheet on wire rack for 10 minutes. And you are on your way to a great morning!

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