Sundays were for family dinners–several courses–and afterwards came coffee and dessert. More often than not, it was this biscotti, dunked deliciously in coffee. As a little girl, I wanted to be one of the adults sitting around the table, warming my hands with a mug of coffee or a cappuccino. Even though there were no frostings or sprinkles adorning the biscotti (Italian for cookies), I nibbled on them, my ears perked with the adult conversation because I wanted to be a grown up.
A coworker went out of her way for me last week and I asked her what I could do to make up it up to her. “I know,” I finally told her. “I’ll bring you my Nonna’s biscotti.”
You see, I’ve seen people pour their hearts out as they dunk this biscotti into their coffee cups. It’s the talk–with my Nonna–that cures them and me. But it’s Nonna’s Biscotti that opens the door. The ingredients are simple but so is hospitality. I’ve learned that from my Nonna too: a full belly won’t fix your problems and it won’t change the world but it might change your night. You might remember the hands that made it so well. You might remember the warmth and love in her kitchen. And when you find yourself with a cup of coffee in hand at the end of the meal, after lots of talking and some debating (Italians), you find yourself a little sad to see the evening ending because for a a few hours you were safe and loved and your belly was full.
Dunk your biscotti and savor the moment. Linger around the table for a few extra moments. Whatever is on your to do list can wait just a little bit longer. Maybe this moment is more important than the laundry or the work to be done. Maybe moments like this add up to a beautiful life.
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp anise extract
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (preferred) or chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Let butter soften
- Cream butter and sugar together
- When well mixed, add eggs, one at a time, and beat well by hand
- Add vanilla and anise
- Mix flour, baking powder ,and salt together
- Add this to the moist mixture
- Stir in the chopped nuts
- Flour hands to handle mixture (a little extra flour will help to handle dough)
- On one or two cookie sheets, depending on size, take portions of mixture and make rolls out of dough Pat down roll so each roll is approximately 10 inches long and about 2 inches wide
- Bake at a 375 degree oven for approximately 12 to 15 minutes
- Bottoms should only be golden brown.
- Remove from oven
- Let set a couple of minutes for 5-10 minutes
- Lift breads with a spatula lightly from cookie sheet to loosen
- Using a serrated edge knife, make slices diagonally on each bread, about 1 inch thickness.
- Flip over each slice and bake approximately and toast 3 minutes
- Remove from oven, flip to other side and repeat the process
- Remove biscotti with spatula.
- Ovens vary, so be careful not to over cook
- Biscotti should look lightly golden
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