traditional, tasty anise toasts

to dunk or not to dunk, that is the question! these anise toasts are some of the most traditional biscotti i remember eating as a child. apart from being the first cookie many italian children eat, they are the perfect adult cookie to be eaten with a demitasse or a cup of strong coffee.

though i’m not a dunker, i do remember adults around me dunking when i was a small child, and i always thought they looked really silly, though quite content. i’m still not sure if the coffee accents the flavor of the cookie, or the cookie flavor melds into the cup of hot brew. in any case, they work well together, and i’ve only grown to love these cookies more as my tastes have matured.

this recipe is based upon a recipe from sweet maria’s italian cookie tray by maria bruscino sanchez. i highly recommend maria’s cookbooks – each one is filled with a delightful array of italian sweets!

anise toasts
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon anise extract (do not use anisette, as the flavor will not be as potent)
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. beat eggs, sugar, oil and anise extract together until they are well blended.
3. gradually mix in the baking powder along with 1 – 1 1/2 cups flour until blended.
4. remove dough to a lightly-floured board and knead in the remaining flour. you may not need to use all of the remaining 1 cup, but the dough should not be sticky. Once it loses its stickiness, you’re in good shape.
4. divide the dough into two pieces, and form a 10-inch long loaf
5. line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the loaves a few inches apart on the sheet.
6. bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and toasty. remove from oven.
7. carefully lift the loaves off the cookie sheets and cool on wire rack. (the easiest way to lift the loaves off the sheet is to use two offset spatulas to lift.)
8. After the loaves are cool, place on a cutting board and using a serrated knife, slice each loaf diagonally into biscuits approximately 1/2 inch thick. place on cookie sheet, leaving a little bit of space between each cookie.
9. bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 11-14 minutes, or until sides of each cookie are golden brown. remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.

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