"Biscotti" is Italian for "twice-baked". These cookies are baked once as a slab, cut into slices, then, returned to the oven to acquire a crispy exterior. Because they are dry, they are perfect for dunking into coffee. I'm not fond of black liquorice but enjoy these cookies, so don't be scared off by the anise!
The traditional method does not involve either oil or a leavening agent, but I experimented with both when adapting my mother's recipe to be gluten-free. I would leave in the baking powder, but exclude the butter-- turns out the oil makes these just a little too moist (never thought I would say that about GF flours!). Anyway, enjoy, soft or crunchy.
Makes 2 dozen long cookies
20 + 30 + 15 (65 minutes total)
Preheat oven: 350 F
-large mixing bowl
-large cookie sheet
[¼ c. butter, softened—optional; makes the cookies softer/moister]
1 c. white granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract*
1 tsp. brandy*, or brandy flavoring
½ of a (1 oz) bottle anise extract*
2 c. leavened GF baking mix (I used Kinnikinnick All Purpose Mix—if you don’t have a pre-made mix, use this: 1.5 c. brown rice flour, ¼ c. potato starch, ¼ c. tapioca starch, 1 tsp. baking powder)
1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum
1 c. chopped walnuts
*All McCormick extracts are GF; Brandy is made without gluten-grains.
1. Place butter into a large mixing bowl. Let it sit and warm up until it’s soft enough to ‘stir’. Beat the soft butter with the white sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, around 2 minutes.
2. Add in the 3 whole eggs to the beaten sugar(&butter). Beat again with mixer until fully combined, around 1 minute. The egg/sugar mixture should be thick and soupy.
3. Add in vanilla, brandy and anise extracts, mixing by hand to fully incorporate.
4. Pour 1 cup GF baking mix into the large bowl; don’t yet stir in the flour. Sprinkle xanthan gum over the top of the flour (as it’s sitting on top of the eggs/sugar); swirl the gum and flour a little bit. Now, carefully mix flour/xanthan gum into the wet ingredients, first by hand, then again with the electric mixer. Dough will be very viscous.
5. Add in the second cup of GF baking mix. This dough is waaay too sticky and dense to mix with an electric beater, so use your arm muscles and ridged spoon. Stir mixture until flour and eggs are well combined.
6. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Dough will look like taffy.
7. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper (you will be very sorry if you don’t line the sheet!!). Spoon dough out onto the parchment paper, spreading it out to form two long ‘loaves’ down the length of the cookie sheet. Each flat loaf of dough should be about 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick.
8. Place cookie sheet into the preheated oven (350 F). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cookie loaves are slightly browned on top. Remove sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool for 10 minutes.
9. Cut cookies at a slight angle (makes them longer) across the width of each loaf, forming 1 inch thick ‘candy bar’ cookies. These biscotti are soft enough that you should have no real problems cutting them.
For soft, moist cookies:
Stop now and turn off the oven. Refrigerate the cookies. Serve warm or cold with coffee.
For crunchy-on-the-outside cookies (my favorite):
10. Turn cookies over on their side, displaying the ‘cut’ part up. Return cookies to the hot oven. Bake 10 more minutes on one side, flip, then bake another 5 minutes on the other side. These cookies will be an amber, toasted brown—nice crunchy exterior with a moist center.
11. Once cooled, remove from cookie sheet and refrigerate. Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and apply to the bottoms of cookies, if desired.