Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Walnut biscotti

I love biscotti. They are delicious dipped in hot coffee or in a glass of wine. I first learned to make them when we lived in San Francisco. They are very easy to make and they've become a fall/winter/holiday tradition in our house. The recipe I started with is made with almonds, and it's very good. These days I have a bounty of walnuts and thought that I should be able to make good biscotti with them. So I did.

My very own home-made biscotti. You can dip them in chocolate for a more decadent treat.

I looked at recipes for walnut biscotti on the internet and found many that included a bit of anise. That sounded good to me. The recipes call for extract of anise, but I have dried star anise in the house and it's very easy to grind one of them up in the mortar and pestle and add it to the recipe. And the fresh walnuts we've been getting are delicious when shelled and toasted and used in place of the almonds. So here's my basic biscotti recipe. You can alter it however you like.

Place in a shallow pan and toast in a preheated 180º (350ºF) oven for about 10 minutes:
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds or walnuts, shelled
When the nuts are roasted, take them out of the oven and let them cool. Meanwhile, combine and beat together:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract and/or anise extract
In a separate bowl, combine and mix until blended:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • a dash of salt
If you want to add ground star anise instead of anise extract, put in in with the dry ingredients. Add the egg mixture and mix for about a minute, until well blended. Chop the roasted nuts into halves or thirds and mix them in. Divide the dough in half and make each half into a log about 1/2 inch thick, 1 1/2 inches wide, and 12 inches long (these measurements are approximate, of course). Put them at least 2 inches apart on a silpat-lined or greased and floured baking sheet and bake them in the middle of a 150º (300ºF) oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown.

Transfer the two logs onto a rack and let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Put them on a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut them at a 45º angle into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Put the slices back on the baking sheet and return them to a 135º (275ºF) oven for 20 to 25 minutes to toast them. After they cool, store them in a tightly closed tin.


  1. Wow..those look awesome. I always make a huge batch of almond biscotti (quintupling the recipe) for our big family get-together each Thanksgiving. In fact, our joke is that it's "ok" that I show up at dinner .... but it's ESSENTIAL that those biscotti show up! (I think everyone is joking...) Anyway - i've never thought of using walnuts. Will have to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow, looks yummy.
    What's the dried "flower"?

  3. Biscotti with wine, never thought of it.

    They look very tasty!

  4. If you're trying to make me fall in love with you, it's working!

    LOL Yes I know I'm recycling old jokes. But seriously, that looks terrific. And that photograph belongs in a magazine. It's perfect!

  5. I have decided this morning that you MUST be part Italian-American. You would fit right into our family the way you discuss biscotti with so much affection! (also known as "beezgawt" around these parts).

    And Cubby is correct, that photo does belong in a magazine! Wonderful.

  6. With wine?! Wow. I've never thought of that.

  7. Walt, that is a super photo! It made my mouth water.... and Pauline and I have just finished eating!
    Just when are you and Ken going to publish a cookery book?

    Vương Tử Trực ... that's not a flower, it is a seedpod called Star Anise... one of the ingredients of a lot of east asian cookery.

  8. What a beautiful picture! Not to mention a yummy-looking cookie.

  9. I see hazelnut biscotti in the week ahead. Yum.

  10. mike, funny! Your biscotti must be awesome!

    vtt, as Tim says below, that's a star anise pod.

    rick, I learned how to do that in Italy with vin santo.

    cubby, hehehehe.

    suzanne, I'm not sure which part it is...

    alewis, yup!

    tim, thanks! I don't think a cook book is in the cards. Too much work! ;)

    chris, and they are yummy, too. See you soon!

  11. susan, mmmmmmmm, hazelnut biscotti!

  12. That recipe was an instant "copy & file" for me. They'll make their debut in this house at Thanksgiving if not considerably before.


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