Almond-Anise Biscotti #Italian

Christina Galioto


This is the classic twice-baked Italian cookie – not overly sweet, bursting with toasted almonds and anise, and brings a definite cookie crunch. These biscotti are ideal treats for mid afternoon snacks or packing into my hunny’s lunchbox. And of course, these hold up perfectly when dipped into tea or a soy latte. Try some of the variations as well, such as Orange-Chocolate Chip and Cranberry-Pistachio.

Anyone who knows me knows I despise baking and don’t favor desert, making it or eating it.  These are THE exception for me as they are very easy to make and as I said above, not overly sweet. I haven’t decided whether or not to include sweets in my future cookbook, Jetset Junkie – but if I do these will certainly be in there.

Makes 18 cookies – Time: About an hour

1/3 cup almond or soy milk

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons aniseseeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole, raw almonds

PREHEAT THE oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk and flaxseeds for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, oil, and extracts, and mix until smooth. Sift in the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, aniseseeds, and salt.

Stir to mix all the ingredients and, just as a firm dough starts to form, knead in almonds. Knead the dough only briefly. Some of the almonds might pop out; just push them back in.

On the baking sheet, form the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. Bake for 28 minutes until lightly puffed; the top may also be slightly cracked, which is okay.

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Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes, until very firm.

Carefully transfer the baked dough to a cutting board. With a heavy, very sharp knife, slice the dough into 1/2-inch thick slices. The best way to do this is in one motion, pushing down; don’t saw the slices off (or use a serrated knife) or the slices could crumble. Be gentle when handling the biscotti at this time, as they are delicate.

Set the slices on the cookie sheet on their cut sides, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until your desired level of brownness and crispness is achieved.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring the slices to a cooling rack. When completely cool, store in an airtight container.

Variations:

Orange-Chocolate Chip: Substitute fresh orange juice for the almond milk. Omit aniseseed and almond extract, and increase the vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Omit the almonds and add 2 tablespoons of packed, grated orange zest and 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips.

Cranberry-Pistachio: Omit the aniseseeds and almonds. Add 1/2 cup each of dried cranberries and shelled green pistachios.

Hazelnut: Omit the almonds and use hazelnuts.