{Currently snacking on: Zuni Cafe’s Cornmeal Almond Anise Biscotti}

Ever since I tried a wedge of the semolina pistachio biscotti at Borgo Trattoria a few weeks ago, I’ve been dreaming of recreating my own batch of droolworthy cookies.

I came upon a recipe from the Zuni Cafe (where I was lucky enough to visit on our trip to San Fran last October – man, that chicken is GOOD!). I slightly adapted them by subbing in the ground anise I bought a few days ago and subbing in vanilla and almond extract for the anisette liquer.

These cookies have just the right amount of sweetness and the almond and anise flavour come through without being overpowering. I love the slight bite that the cornmeal adds to the dough combined with the crunchy whole almonds studded throughout each cookie.

They are simple yet sophisticated and are so tasty that I think I’ll be keeping this whole batch in my home.

Cornmeal almond biscotti with ground anise (adapted from Judy Rodger’s Zuni Cafe recipe)

Makes about 32 small cookies

  • 1½ cups whole unblanched almonds
  •  ½ cup (1 stick) softened salted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  •  1 Tbsp. anisette liqueur (I subbed in 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tbsp almond extract)
  •  1½ Tbsp. anise seeds (I used ground anise)
  •  1½ cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
  •  ½ cup cornmeal
  •  1½ tsp. baking powder
  •  ½ tsp. salt
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 (or extracts), ground anise, 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).
  4. Working on the prepared baking sheets, shape the dough into 4, each about 1 1/2 inch wide and ¾ inch high.
  5. Bake until the dough is set and beginning to turn pale gold at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheets to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes; leave the oven on.
  6. 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 12 minutes.
  7. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. (These biscotti keep well.)
In other news, I finally upgraded my beat up ol’ point and shoot to this beauty…A Fuji X10 for my upcoming trip to Paris…It’s supposed to be great for low light shots and close up food shots, I can’t wait to try it out! I love how it looks vintage cool. Tres chic, non?
8 Responses to “{Currently snacking on: Zuni Cafe’s Cornmeal Almond Anise Biscotti}”
  1. Karen says:

    I think that the cornmeal must give a nice crunch and taste to the biscotti. Congratulations on your new camera.

  2. Tatiana says:

    Sweet camera! And I can see how cornmeal can be a great biscotti addition. I love it in all baked goods, and make anadama bread once in a while too.

  3. Julie says:

    Yuuuum!! I could go for some of these biscotti right about now. With a nice foamy latte…

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