A delicious version of a simple Italian cookie—crisp and dry, with a delicate sugar-spice coating and rich almond-anise flavor. Serve these for breakfast, or dip them into a late-afternoon cup of espresso or tea.
¾cupsugar Zest of 1 small lemon
1cup coarse-chopped almonds (about 4ounces)
¼teaspoonbaking powderPinch of salt
4teaspoonsanise seeds, crushed coarse
3tablespoonsSambuca or anisette liqueur
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets; set aside.
In an electric mixer (with the whisk attachment), beat the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until the mixture forms a thick ribbon when dropped from the whisk, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, pulse the almonds in a food processor with the flour, baking powder, salt, and anise seeds until the almonds are finely chopped. (Do not overprocess, or the nuts will be ground. These cookies should have a slight crunch.)
When the egg mixture is ready, remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the Sambuca or anisette. Now fold in the almond mixture, adding it in four portions. Spoon the mixture into logs about 2 inches wide and as long as the baking sheets, placing two logs on each sheet, and spacing them well apart.
Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven.
Topping: Gently brush the logs with a light coating of egg white. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle this over the logs. Now slice the logs diagonally 1 inch thick (if your baking sheets are nonstick, carefully transfer the baked logs with two spatulas to a cutting surface, slice them, and return the slices to the baking sheets).
Return the slices to the oven, topping upward, and bake until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes longer. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack and cool. These cookies keep well, stored airtight. They can also be mailed, packed with crumpled wax paper to prevent breakage.