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Zesty Almond Biscotti

Zesty Almond Biscotti

By: Sylvia Cummings (Read Bio)

Zesty Almond Biscotti


My grandmother's family emigrated from the Calabrian region of southern Italy in the 1910s, bringing with them many traditional Italian recipes including the core elements of this one. The biscotti my grandmother remembers, however, were strictly almond flavored and light on luxury ingredients like sugar and butter. Over the years I have adapted this recipe passed down through the generations to include a little more sweetness and richness while still celebrating the humble origins of the twice-baked biscuit. They are still best enjoyed dipped in coffee and shared with loved ones. 

Biscotti translates from Italian as "twice-baked," meaning that these cookies are baked once in a log and then sliced into the iconic shape for a second bake that crisps them up. They are a labor of love, time, and patience -- perfect for gift giving. 

I adopted balance as my guiding philosophy when developing this recipe. Rather than having one flavor dominate the cookie, here the almonds, pecans, anise, and orange are all very much present but balanced, with none overpowering the others. Janie's Mill Sifted Durum Flour perfectly complements these flavors and adds a lovely soft, golden hue.

Yield: 12-14 biscotti (depending on your shaping)



  • ½ cups (150 g.) Janie's Mill All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup (120 g.) Janie's Mill Sifted Durum Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. anise seeds
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup (198 g.) granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp. fresh or dried orange zest (about half an orange)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1⁄4 tsp. anise extract (optional)
  • 1 cup (114 g.) slivered almonds 
  • ½ cup (57g.) chopped pecans 


  1. Combine dry ingredients: Whisk to combine the flours, anise seeds, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 
  2. Combine wet ingredients: Add the sugar and orange zest to a large bowl and press the zest into the sugar with your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand. This will help to release the orange oils and more evenly distribute orange flavor throughout the biscotti. 
  3. Add the butter to the sugar mixture and cream together until the mixture is light and fluffy. 
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between additions. Then, add the extracts. 
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet in 2-3 additions. When just a few spots of flour remain, add the almonds and pecans. At this stage, switch to mixing with your hands to evenly distribute the nuts. If the dough is sticking to your hands, refrigerate for 10-15 minutes before proceeding with shaping. 
  6. Form the log: On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, use your hands to mold all of the dough into a log about 4.5 inches by 11 inches in size. Do your best to square off the ends. 
  7. Cover the log with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. 
  8. Preheat oven to 325F. 
  9. Bake the log for 35-40 minutes until lightly golden brown across the entire surface and medium golden brown on the bottom. At the 20 minute mark, rotate the sheet to ensure even baking. Remember, biscotti translates literally as "twice-baked" and this is the first bake, so be careful not to take them too far. 
  10. Let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  11. Preheat oven to 250F. 
  12. Slice the log into 12-14 bars using a sharp, serrated knife. Some crumbling is expected and makes for an excellent snack!
  13. Lay the biscotti cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 
  14. After 20 minutes, carefully flip the biscotti onto the second cut side and bake for another 15-20 minutes. The cut sides of the biscotti should feel completely firm and dry to the touch after this second bake. 
  15. Let them cool completely on a wire rack. Dip in semi-sweet chocolate if desired.

Note: The dough can be frozen for up to three months after it is pre-shaped into a log. The baked biscotti can be stored for a week or two at room temperature. 

From left to right: Marlene Castiglia Brockman (the author's grandmother), with her sisters Virginia and Lena, and her mother Saveria Castiglia, in the early 1950s. Saveria emigrated from Calabria to Chicago about 100 years ago.

Posted on June 01 2024