These sweet and crunchy anise biscotti will transport you to Italy in just one bite! I love that you can make these cookies in advance to enjoy anytime, anywhere (they freeze beautifully).
When you think of biscotti, the crunchy, twice-baked Italian cookies destined for dunking, what flavor comes to mind first? Vanilla biscotti? Almond? Chocolate?
If anise biscotti are not on your radar yet, welcome to the most delicious “Italian-bakery” taste worthy of any espresso or dessert wine. These cookies are warm and welcoming with subtle hints of buttery, anise flavor (not strong like Sambuca). Just the aroma itself will make you happy.
The Star Ingredient.
Anise extract is a popular flavoring used in Italian cakes, cookies and pastries. It’s made from steeping star anise (you know it, it looks like a cute little wooden star) in alcohol to extract the natural flavor.
The aroma is reminiscent of fennel or licorice, which most people assume is too strong. However, when used in small amounts, especially when combined with butter, the flavor is not overpowering at all. It’s enhancing. Anytime I make anise biscotti, I get rave reviews and unexpected smiles all around. This is my go-to recipe.
Italian Anise Biscotti Ingredients: You Will Need
- Granulated sugar
- Anise extract
- Vanilla extract
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Fine sea salt
How To Make Biscotti (At A Glance)
Biscotti are twice-baked cookies. First, you’ll make the biscotti dough which looks more like cookie batter than actual dough. It’s a bit sticky. Then, you’ll form the dough into logs, and bake side-by-side on a baking sheet until cooked through. That’s the “first bake.” To finish, you’ll cut the logs into diagonal slices (use a large serrated knife) and bake again until golden brown, crisp and delicious.
- Use a stand mixer: Biscotti dough is slightly sticky. Using an electric stand mixer or hand-held mixer will make your life easier when creaming the butter and sugar together. But of course, you can mix by hand too!
- Flour everything. When shaping the biscotti, make sure to lightly flour your work surface and hands to prevent sticking. The dough will be easier to handle and roll around.
- Make it ahead. Biscotti keep for several weeks at room temperature or frozen in an airtight container.
- No Anise extract? No problem. Use a tiny drop of anise oil instead. The flavor is stronger but it will get the job done.
How to Freeze Biscotti
Just like my Italian sesame cookies, you can freeze anise biscotti with excellent results. Place baked and cooled biscotti into an airtight container separated by sheets of parchment paper. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost on the kitchen counter at room temperature.
More Italian Dessert Recipes to Try!
- Classic Italian Sesame Cookies (Reginelle Cookies)
- One-Bowl Italian Almond Ricotta Cake
- Rich & Fudgy Torta Caprese
*Photo credit & styling: Melina Hammer.Print
This anise biscotti recipe will transport you to Italy in just one bite! So buttery, crisp and delicious! They will keep at room temperature in an air-tight container for 1 month (if you don’t eat them all first!) or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- 120 g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp anise extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs (about 107 g cracked weight)
- 265 g (2 cups) King Arthur all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 325 F.
- Coat a sheet pan with butter (or spray oil). Line with parchment paper to stick.
- In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the anise and vanilla extracts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. It will smell delicious!
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour baking powder and salt.
- With the mixer running, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until just combined. Note: if the dough is too sticky, add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time. The texture should be soft and malleable, but not overly wet and sticky. You will be hand-rolling the dough in the next step.
- Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured surface (I use a fine mesh strainer to evenly dust my work surface to prevent sticking). With floured hands, gently form the dough into a ball. Divide the ball in half. Roll each half into a thick log, about 8 inches long by 2 inches wide. To do so: lift the dough up and roll the logs vertically in between your palms, gently stretching them to size. Alternatively, roll the logs on your work surface.
- Set the logs onto your baking sheet spaced 5 inches apart. Brush off any residual flour on the surface. Gently flatten the logs to 2 1/2- 2 3/4-inches wide.
- Bake on the center rack for 25-30 minutes. This is your first bake. When ready, the logs will be light in color and just starting to turn golden around the edges. There will be cracks on the surface- all normal.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Transfer the logs a wire rack to cool, about 20-30 minutes.
- With a large serrated knife, cut the logs (on a diagonal) into 1/2-inch slices. The slices will still be slightly warm at this point. You should end up with 28-32 biscotti, depending on how you cut them.
- Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, onto your baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping them over at the halfway mark. Keep an eye on them as they bake. You’re looking for a slightly darkened exterior with a lighter, “almond color” interior. Adjust bake time as needed.
- Remove from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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