Family recipes are always so special to me….especially around the holiday season. Wrapped up in each recipe are distinctive memories of times, places and faces that have help to shape me into who I am today. Look, I don’t mean to get all melodramatic about a cookie recipe, but for me, at Christmastime, there is something about making this Fucci Family Biscotti recipe that is almost like a tribute—a culinary salute, if you will—to the men who came before me and who were so significant and impactful in my life.
Truly, this Biscotti recipe is one of those extra special heirlooms that has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. This recipe is so exceptional, in fact, that my Dad preserved one of my Grandpa’s homemade Biscotti cookies (and the family recipe) in a time capsule of sorts that sits prominently upon a shelf at my folks’ house. I remember looking at that little jar with the white cap many times growing up thinking, “I wonder if that cookie is still good to eat…and I wonder if I’ll get in trouble if I do.” As a kid, I wondered why my dad kept it and thought that my Grandpa’s cookie must have been so extraordinary to be set apart and displayed as it was. As an adult, I get why he did.
Evidently, my pursuit of the perfectly crafted Biscotti seems to have been a proclivity of mine even at an early age. I recently came across this gem of a photo where I was literally caught with my hand in the cookie jar…or as it seems to have been known in the Fucci household, the cookie drawer.
I don’t know what my folks were thinking, storing cookies within a toddler’s reach…but hey, as far as I’m concerned, if they’re not going to childproof the drawer, their loss was my gain.
It wasn’t until I discovered coffee, though, that I truly understood the potential of this little biscuit. I mean, I remember my Grandma Fucci always having her cup of coffee (with Coffee Rich creamer, of course) and a couple of “dunking cookies,” as she called them. But I didn’t fully appreciate it until I dunked for the first time, experiencing first hand, how this ever so crunchy cookie transforms into a softish, crunchyish flavor sensation that so subtly awakens the senses. It is one of the most perfectly satisfying cookies, with a sophisticated crunch and just a hint of sweetness.
These days, whatever time of year it is, I still love making these cookies. I even have friends that ask regularly when I’m making the next batch.
GIFT IDEA: Especially around the holidays, though, these Biscotti cookies make the perfect gift. Simply place some cookies into a cellophane bag, tie it with some curling ribbon and give them away to people with a coffee mug and a bag of your favorite coffee (this is one of my new favorites) or maybe a good book. If you want to get a little extra fancy, you could even half-dip some of the Biscotti into chocolate, making the perfect edible stirrer for a morning mocha.
Whatever holiday you celebrate this weekend, whether Christmas or Hanukkah, through the hustle and bustle of the season, I encourage you to find just a little time to stop and take a moment to relax…perhaps spoil yourself with a good read, a cup of java and a couple Biscotti.
I can’t wait to hear about your experiences making and sharing these cookies with the ones you love.
…and I want to wish you the best holiday ever from my kitchen to yours!
Fucci's Homemade Biscotti
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, corn starch and salt in a small bowl.
- In another large bowl, cream together the eggs and sugar. Beat about 7 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients slowly, finally adding vanilla and anise extracts.
- Fold in the anise seeds and pine nuts.
- Chill dough in refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each under your palms to make a log.
- Place the logs on the baking sheet. Slightly flatten with your fingers to about 3/4 inches thick.
- Bake until golden brown and firm, about 22 minutes.
- Remove and let cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Transfer each loaf to a large cutting board and with a serrated knife cut into 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick slices.
- Spread the slices on the baking sheet and, using the broiler setting, slightly toast one side. Turn over and toast the other side.
- Cool on a wire rack.