Anise biscotti is a thick crunchy cookie with a light licorice flavor. These cookies are flavorful and pair perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea. Store them in an air-tight container and you’ll run out long before they expire. They also make a great gift!
My dad loves these cookies. I can’t count how many mornings I watched him wake up, grab an anise biscotti cookie from a tin on the counter, and start dunking it into a cup of hot coffee. They never lasted long. When I was running the bakery, these were one of our most popular goods.
What Exactly Is Biscotti?
Biscotti is an Italian cookie that is typically thick, dry, and sweet. A traditional flavor profile calls for a little vanilla and some pine nuts or almonds. You’ll find all sorts of combinations out there though. I encourage you experiment and come up with your own combinations. Here is the basic construct of a biscotti cookie recipe:
- A thick sugar dough that can rise.
- A flavor in the dough (ex: vanilla, chocolate, orange, anisette)
- An accent texture (ex: nuts, cranberries, seeds)
So this anise biscotti recipe uses anisette as the flavor and anise seeds as the texture. Because biscotti are such a dry cookie, they stay fresh longer. Chocolate and vanilla variety seem to start tasting stale faster because of its extended lifespan. By using anise as the flavoring, it actually becomes more flavorful over time. The anise biscotti dough is also made slightly less sweet to allow room for the licorice flavors to build.
Is Biscotti a Biscuit or a Cookie?
Yes. It’s both. But… biscotti popularly accepted as a cookie. That’s what’s I’m sticking to. It’s a little different than a standard cookie though because it transforms while you make it. Biscotti is made by first making a cookie loaf. The loaf is baked then sliced. Each biscotti slice is then baked again. This is what gives the interior of the cookie a toasty crunch. After they are cool, finish off the cookies by dipping them in chocolate or glazing them. (I don’t do that in this recipe, but you can if you want!)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp anisette liqueur
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp anise seeds
- pinch salt
- Heat oven to 350℉
- In a medium mixing bowl, blend the butter and sugar together.
- Add the eggs and the anisette liqueur. Mix until smooth.
- Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Fold out onto a lightly-floured work surface and shape into two oblong loaves. The dough will be sticky. Lightly-flouring your hands will help with stickiness.
- Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes. The biscotti loaf will become brown, cracked, and will sound slightly hollow when tapped. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Increase oven temperature to 400℉.
- Gently slice each biscotti loaf diagonally into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Lay each piece on the baking sheet with the cut side down.
- Bake for 5 minutes.
- Flip the biscotti.
- Bake for 5 more minutes.
- Cool and store in an air-tight container.
Baking Anise Biscotti in a Tiny Kitchen
You will need access to an oven that can bake at 400℉. You might be able to get away with making this recipe in a toaster oven if you divide the dough into 4 loaves instead of 2. Bake in 4 small batches for about 15 to 20 minutes, then follow the rest of the recipe. It’ll take awhile, but it’ll get the job done.
Because italian biscotti are typically a dry, crunchy cookie, I like to cool them on a wire rack. Correction, I used to cool them on a wire rack. In my tiny kitchen, I don’t keep a wire rack on hand. Now I just lay them out on a paper bag and flip them halfway through the cooling process. The difference in the crunch is barely noticeable. Normally, I can’t keep my hands off my anise biscotti after they come out of the oven, so this extra step isn’t a problem for me.
I can only make one biscotti loaf at a time in my oven because it’s so small. Freezing and refrigerating the dough loaves is a great way to make the full batch of anise biscotti without having literally to spend 3 hours in one sitting babysitting an oven. The anise biscotti dough can be frozen for up to two months. I recommend that you freeze it in loaf form so it’s a little less work. Fully thaw the dough before baking it. You can also refrigerate the dough in plastic wrap for about two days.