Top | Classic Home Desserts
(recipe, Richard Sax)
Judy Rodgers, chef-owner of San Francisco's Zuni Cafe, makes the best biscotti ever. This is her recipe.
- 1¼ cups whole unblanched almonds
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold lightly salted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp. anisette liqueur (see Note)
- 1½ Tbsp. anise seeds
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
- ½ cup cornmeal, preferably coarse-ground
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper (or a Silpat mat), or generously butter the baking sheets; set aside. Scatter the almonds over (another) baking sheet and toast until dark-medium brown, usually 12 to 15 minutes.
- Cool slightly on a wire rack; leave the oven on. Chop enough of the almonds to measure ¼ cup. Set both the chopped and whole almonds aside.
- Cream the butter with the sugar using an electric mixer just until combined, no longer. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Add the anisette liqueur, anise seeds, 1¼ cups of the flour, the cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and all of the almonds; mix until combined and the nuts are distributed. Stir in enough of the remaining ¼ cup flour so the dough comes together, but is not sticky (the dough should pull away from the the sides of the bowl).
- Working on the prepared baking sheets, shape the dough into 4 or 5 logs, each about 1 inch wide and ¾ inch high.
- Bake until the dough is set and beginning to turn pale gold at the edges, about 13 minutes. Remove the baking sheets to a wire rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes; leave the oven on.
- Cut the biscotti into even slices (using a sharp knife on a cutting board) about ½ inch wide. Arrange the slices, cut sides up, on the baking sheets. Return to the oven and bake the biscotti again until very lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. (These biscotti keep well.)
If you don't have anisette liqueur you can substitute a combination of 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract and 1/2 Tablespoon almond extract. Also, I like to add the zest of 1 lemon to the batter.