As a young girl my best friend was Italian. My mother would often visit with JoJo's mom down the street for afternoon tea or coffee. This was during an era when most mom's did not work outside the home except for volunteering at school or church. I never minded going over to JoJo's except that her family always had these strange looking and equally strange tasting cookies. What's a biscotti? What I was experiencing at such an early age is exactly what I made in my kitchen the other day! Now they aren't so strange. If fact, they were darn good!
These days, I make biscotti for my best friend, who is also Italian. He also happens to be my BEST friend for the last 40 years...and my hubby. Even though these biscotti are on the plain side, they don't lack for flavor and they certainly didn't last very long in this home!
Traditional Anise Flavored Biscotti
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp anise extract
1 - 2 tsp orange extract (I thought this would give it more flavor but optional)
3 1/4 cups flour, all-purpose
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 egg white, beaten
1 -2 Tbsp sugar (regular granulated)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl beat the oil, eggs, sugar and extracts. In a smaller measuring cup or bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Add the flour into the egg/sugar mixture and blend until a heavy dough begins to form.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. (NOTE) Working on a floured board, form them into 12 inch or so long log shapes. Slightly press down. Brush some egg white onto the surface and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, turning the pan halfway through the cooking process. When golden brown remove from the oven and slide them off onto a clean cutting board to cool slightly. With a serrated knife slice them into 1/2 inch slices. I usually don't "second bake" my biscotti...I like them on the chewy side. You can though. Just put back onto the cookie sheet cut side up and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.
For this batch I made one loaf plain and one with chopped almonds. This is where you would add them.