Yield: 36 servings
A Sicilian specialty, this recipe produces a relatively hard biscuit perfect with an afternoon cup of coffee. 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder ¼ tsp. salt 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs ¼ tsp.
vanilla extract 1 Tbs. minced zest from 1 lemon 1 Tbs. anise seeds 1. Sift first 3 ingredients together in a small bowl. 2. Whisk sugar and eggs in a large bowl to a light lemon color; stir in next 3 ingredients.
Sift dry ingredients over egg mixture, then fold in until dough is just combined.
3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Halve dough and turn each portion onto an oiled cookie sheet covered with parchment. Using floured hands, quickly stretch each portion of dough into a rough 13 by 2 inch log, placing them about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Pat each dough shape to smooth it. Bake, turning pan once, until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes. 4.
Cool the loaves for 10 minutes; lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Cut each loaf diagonally into ⅜ inch slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices about ½ inch apart on the cookie sheet, cut side up, and return them to the oven. Bake, turning over each cookie halfway through baking, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer biscotti to wire rack and cool completely. (Biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for at least I month.) Variation: Follow the mixing, baking, and slicing instructions for Lemon Anise Biscotti, substituting ½ cup of unhulled sesame seeds for the anise seeds in the recipe. Brush the top of each loaf of dough with an egg wash and sprinkle with additional sesame seeds.