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Preparation info

  • Makes about

    5 dozen

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

These delicate biscotti with their thin icing keep well in a tightly closed tin. The recipe came to me through Cathy McCauley, owner with Al Cappellini of Cooktique, one of New Jersey’s most popular cooking schools and kitchenware stores. Cathy acquired the recipe several years ago from Teresa Mazzetti, her brother’s mother-in-law.



  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons warm water


For the dough, beat the butter until soft and light, either by hand, with a hand mixer set at medium speed, or in a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat in the sugar, zest, and vanilla and continue beating until very light, 3 or 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Mix the flour and baking powder together and add half of the mixture to the butter mixture, stirring it in by hand. Stir in the milk, then the remaining flour mixture, to make a sticky dough.

Form the ancinetti using a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tube (Ateco #6). Pipe the dough onto paper-lined pans, making ¾-inch spheres about 1 inch apart. Or use a spoon to shape them, dropping the dough in place on the pans.

Bake the ancinetti at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, until they are golden and fairly firm. Cool briefly on the pans.

Immediately after removing the ancinetti from the oven, prepare the icing. Combine all the icing ingredients in a large saucepan and stir to mix. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, until smooth and just hot to the touch, about 130 degrees. Remove from the heat and add the still-warm ancinetti, about 6 or 8 at a time, stirring them gently in the icing. With a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove them from the icing, draining them well, and arrange them right side up on paper-lined pans. Continue with the remaining ancinetti, reheating the icing if it cools and becomes too thick.

Allow the ancinetti to cool completely so that the icing dries, then place them in a tin between layers of wax paper.