Greek biscotta with anise and cinnamon (Paximadia)
The baking process of Greek biscotta is very similar to Italian biscotti. The biscuits are baked twice to perfection, first in a log shape and then in slices. The combination of vanilla, anise, cinnamon and walnuts make these biscotta very aromatic and flavourful. Store-bought versions don’t come close.
2¼ c. (560 ml) all-purpose flour
¾ c. (180 ml) sugar
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) baking powder
1 tsp. (5 ml) cinnamon, ground
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt
½ c. (125 ml) vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) vanilla extract
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) anise seed
flour for dusting
¾ c. (180 ml) walnuts, chopped
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tsp. (10 ml) sesame seeds
Use a wooden spoon to combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre.
Add the oil, eggs, vanilla and anise seed. Use your hands to mix the wet and dry ingredients together. The dough that forms should be moist and light brown in colour.
Transfer the dough to a lightly dusted work surface. Divide into two equal pieces.
Use a rolling pin to flatten out one piece until it’s about ¼-inch (6-mm) thick. Top the entire surface with half of the walnuts. Roll the dough back up and shape it into a log measuring 12-inches (30-cm) long and ½-inch (12-mm) thick. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
Place the two logs on a rimless baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top of each with beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle the logs with sesame seeds.
Bake in an oven preheated at 350°F (180°C) for 30 minutes until lightly golden. Transfer the logs to a cooling rack. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and use a serrated knife to slice the logs into 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick slices. Lay the cookies flat on the baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes. Biscotta can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Makes 24.
Variations: You can always add different fillings to your biscotti. Cranberries, almonds, pistachios or chopped dried figs are all wonderful ideas.
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