Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anisette Biscotti

My elderly neighbour in East Boston used to bake these cookies and then complain that the house "smelled like a distillery." To my mind, that isn't exactly a bad thing-at least not when it smells like Pernod.

I made a few adjustments to the recipe which comes from the New York Times Heritage Cookbook by, Jean Hewitt. Instead of aniseed, I substituted 1/8 teaspoon of concentrated anise oil-available in Italian grocers. I also omitted the rinds and almonds as I wanted a rather intensely anisette cookie. I will post the recipe as it was published and leave it to readers to substitute as they please.

I also turned the cookies at seven minutes rather than fifteen so that they might brown more evenly than the original recipe called for. No mention was made about greasing the sheets or not, so I used silicone pads. Since these bake at a moderate temperature, I'd think parchment paper would work fine. Since they contain so much butter, I would not chose to grease the pans-but that is really just my guess. Butter at your own risk.

You Will Need:

1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon aniseed
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons grated orange rind
1 cup blanched almonds

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla.
3) Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to batter in small batches. Stir in remaining ingredients and blend well.
4) Divide dough into three parts and shape each into a long roll one and one half inches in diameter.
5) Place each roll on a separate cookie sheet and flatten top slightly. Bake fifteen minutes.
6) Remove from oven and cut into 3/4 inch slices. Lay on side and bake seven minutes. Turn and bake seven more on opposite side.
7) Cool on rack.

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