Ava Bakes Biscotti with Recipe

My pretty and perky granddaughter Ava helped me bake these for her 5th birthday way back in June of 2012. We had a great time.  This recipe is well suited for young ones because so much of it is like working with play dough.  It’s nice and messy, too.

If you want to try something different from the sweet, flaky confections that everybody else does at Christmas time, try these.  They are more hardy and filling than the biscotti you buy over the counter, and the anise flavor is addicting. 

Don’t worry moms, the alcohol evaporates during the baking process. 

Here are a few Italian films for you with your cookies.  Both are love stories, the first a tragic one, the second as sweet as the first is bitter.   


Letters to Juliet

Anise Biscotti

My dog-eared Italian cookbook simply refers to these as “Twice-Baked Cookies,” instead of the more trendy “Biscotti.”    Some people call them wine dunkers, which works for me.  They are also great dunked in a steaming cup of coffee.

This recipe makes about 9 dozen cookies.

(I prefer the walnuts to almonds because they give these more substance.)


2 cups sugar

1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter or margarine, melted

4 tablespoons anise seed

4 tablespoons anisette or other anise-flavored liqueur

3 tablespoons whiskey, or 2 tablespoons vanilla and 2 tablespoons water

2 cups coarsely chopped almonds or walnuts

6 eggs

5 ½ cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder.


Mix sugar with butter, anise seed, anise liqueur, whiskey (or vanilla and water) and nuts.  Beat in the eggs. Mix flour with baking powder and stir into the sugar mixture; blend thoroughly.  Cover and chill the dough for 2 or 3 hours.

Directly on greased baking sheets (without sides) shape dough with your hand to form flat loaves that are about ½ inch thick and 2 inches wide and as long as the baking sheet.  Place no more than 2 loaves, parallel and well apart, on a pan. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let loaves cool on pans until you can touch them, then cut in diagonal slices that are about ½ to ¼ inch thick.  Lay slices on cut sides, close together on the baking sheets, and return to the 375-degree oven for 15 minutes more or until lightly toasted.  Cool on wire racks and store in airtight containers.