Saturday, May 18, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Biscotti d' Anise - Anise Cookies

The three fancy dessert recipes which I posted recently - Torta Caprese, Tortoni, 
and Pear and Grappa Pound Cake - were nice for Mother's Day.
But sometimes you just want a light dessert.
Especially when the thermometer is rising.

Bobby Bacala's chapter If I Couldn't Eat, I'd F**king Die in Artie Bucco's 
The Sopranos Family Cookbook has something for everybody.
Yes, some of his recipes are really just for reading.
But his recipe for Biscotti d' Anise - Anise Cookies - is simple.
And the cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

The anise seeds can be crushed with a hammer or whirled in a blender.

                        Biscotti d' Anise

Makes about 3 dozen

Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a 9-inch square pan
Line the bottom of the pan with wax paper or parchment.
Grease the paper.
Dust the bottom with flour and tap out the excess.

In a large mixer bowl, combine
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons anise extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 Cup sugar
Beat at low speed, gradually increasing the speed to high.
Beat until the eggs are very light and foamy and tripled in volume, 
about another 5 to 7 minutes.

Place in a sieve
1 Cup flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
Shake about one-third of the mixture over the egg mixture.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients.
Repeat two more times with the remaining flour mixture.
Fold in
1 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Level the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes.
The top should be evenly browned and firm when touched in the centre.
Remove the cake from the oven.

Raise the oven temperature to 375º.
Run a small knife around the edges of the cake.
Invert the cake onto a cutting board and remove the cake from the pan.
With a serrated knife cut the cake into 3 strips.
Cut each strip into 3/4-inch thick slices.
Place the slices, cut side down, on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake the slices 50 to 10 minutes, until toasted and golden.
Remove them from the oven.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Store in a tightly covered container in a cool, dry place.

Would I make Biscotti d' Anise again?
Sure.  It's a little different from Ma's Biscotti.
And also a little different from Carmela Soprano's Anisette Toast.
If I was having company I'd make all three.
A little variety never hurts.
And they store well.

One recipe down.  Nine more to go.

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