Mmmm, the holiday baking season has started and it's time to think about my personal favorite treat - cookies! I'm putting together my 12 favorite cookie recipes (some easy, some complex, some traditional) for your baking enjoyment. Happy Holidays!
Anise & Chocolate Almond Biscotti
My grandparents are Italian so this crisp, mildly-sweet little cookie has always been a favorite of mine. Dipped in a cup of hot chocolate, it's the perfect treat on a cold day. If you don't like the flavor of anise, try orange extract!
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon anise extract, or 3 drops anise oil
In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and anise flavoring until well blended. Add baking powder. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough (you might not use the entire 3 1/4 cups). Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
For the chocolate biscotti, make another batch with the same recipe, substituting the anise extract for 2 tsp almond extract. Add 1/4 cup baking cocoa and 1/2 cup toasted almonds.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Divide each dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1 inch thickness. Make one roll of plain chocolate and one roll of plain anise. Divide the remaining two pices of dough into halves. Sandwich the two halves of different dough together, roll out and twist slightly before pressing down to 1 inch thickness. You should have 1 roll of anise, one of chocolate and two rolls of the twisted dough.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. When the cookies are just cool enough to handle, remove from baking sheet and slice each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Don't let the cookies get too cool or they will crumble when you cut them, and I found that a sharp bread knife worked the best. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Slices should be lightly toasted.
Serve plain or dip 1/3 of the end in melted chocolate.