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Cookies without Nuts
Biscotti di San Francesco
Biscotti di San Francesco (Sweet yeast dough St. Francis biscuits flavored with cinnamon and aniseed)
Originated from: Southern Italy
Occasion: Feast Day of St. Francis (Oct. 4th)
Contributed by: Adapted from "La Tavola Italiana" by Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow (1988)

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1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons lard
1/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons traditional dry yeast
3 teaspoons aniseed, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Crush the aniseed using a pestle and mortar.

Proof yeast in warm water.

In a separate bowl, mix crushed aniseed, cinnamon, sugar and flour together.

Cut lard into seasoned flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add proofed yeast and mix until you have a soft malleable dough (If the dough is too sticky, add a touch more flour; if it is too dry, add a touch more water).

Knead for 5 minutes.

Shape the dough into a cylinder.

Cut a thin slice of dough and using the palms of your hands (which can be floured) make a taralli-style small log -- about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch thick.

Place the log on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Continue making the logs until the dough is used up.

When all the dough is processed, cover the logs with a cloth.

Keep in a warm room until the logs double in volume (about 3 1/2 hours).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Bake until the biscotti are lightly browned -- about 20 to 30 minutes.



The recipe in this entry was adapted from "La Tavola Italiana" by Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow (New York: W. Morrow, 1988). The cookbook can be borrowed for free from www.openlibrary.org.... I tried this recipe and found it relatively easy to do. Even though I found that the cinnamon and aniseed flavors blended well together (It's the first time I come across this combination) these biscotti didn't appeal to me. Despite using a fair amount of sugar, these biscotti taste more like bread than cookies. I suspect, if they were presented as buns, rather than long sticks, they might be more appealing. But that's just my opinion. Apparently, this is a traditional recipe, named after the Franciscan friars who are devoted to St. Francis, a man noted for his love of nature and the simple life. Incidentally, St. Francis is the patron saint of Italy. Personal comments and photo: Mary Melfi.

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