The Becoming of Biscotti (Almond Anise Biscotti)

My husband had very interesting friends. One of them was Eldon Dedini the famous cartoonist. He was a frequent visitor. Since he was Italian I decided to make and keep on hand the Italian cookie known as biscotti. With that choice I opened the door to a fascinating history but did not know it at the time. Biscotti appear and disappear for centuries at a time.
Biscotti were originally baked for Roman soldiers because they lasted for a long time. When the Roman Empire ended the biscotti disappeared. But they reappeared in the 14th century in Tuscany in the city of Prato. Here they were made with almonds which are everywhere in that region and anise. Once again they were favorites of those making long voyages and in this case it was Columbus who took the biscotti with him on all the voyages to the new world. And of course other countries copied the biscotti with Germany baking their own version called zwieback. Different regions in Italy have different names for the biscotti. In Tuscany they are called Cantucci and in Prato they are called Prato biscotti.
All was quiet with the biscotti until the 1990's when they hit the USA. They became very popular. There is no perfect way to make biscotti. There are a few guidelines such as those made with butter or oil have a shorter shelf life. One of the reasons for their popularity is that biscotti are versatile. Fillings can be varied from fruit, nuts spices, orange, raisen, cranberries, etc. It is hard to ruin biscotti. If the dough is to dry just add another egg, too sticky, more flour. If left in the oven too long use them for dunking. When making biscotti learn that practice makes perfect. Patience is required in making biscotti because they are time consuming. The result is well worth it. You can enjoy them with an assortment of drinks from coffee to wine. The Vin Santo biscotti are enjoyed with sweet wines. Vin Santo means holy wine. Some biscotti recipes include chocolate.
All you need to make biscotti is a bowl, a spoon, a couple of baking sheets and some parchment paper. Always preheat the

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