Don't be put off baking these anise biscotti thinking you won't like them because of the licorice taste. The licorice flavor of the aniseed is not overpowering. Rather it gives your biscotti just enough tang.
These biscotti have become a firm favorite with their golden color and delicate spicy taste. Welcoming and homely they will fill your kitchen with the most wonderful smells and aromas.
Aniseed is the seed of the anise plant. A herb, it is a member of the parsley family. It has a sweet aroma and taste similar to liquorice, and is used to flavour a variety of foods from baked goods, sweets and liqueurs.
It can be used whole or ground. Ground anise is made by grinding dried anise seeds.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed until the butter turns a light yellow. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar is no longer gritty.
Add the eggs one at a time, and beat on low speed until creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract, anise extract and ground anise until mixed through.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and gradually add to the butter mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon or with the mixer on low speed until the flour is incorporated and the batter is soft.
Turn out onto a very well floured board and divide in half. Work each half into a log shape about 12 inches long and 1 ½ inches in diameter. Place them on the baking sheet side by side, but leave about 4 inches between each one to allow them to spread during baking.
Lightly brush the top of each log with some of the egg white and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
Bake in the oven for about 25 - 30 minutes or until the edges turn a golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for about 10 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into ½ inch slices. Carefully turn them over onto their sides and arrange on two baking sheets.
Return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes or until they turn a golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on wire racks.
Makes about 48
How much ground anise you use is a matter of personal taste. If you want a stronger flavour, add more. For a milder taste add less.
Brushing the top with the egg white gives your biscotti a lovely golden glow.