Sweet Tooth Friday: Nonna Olga’s Biscotti



It’s Friday everyone so let’s make something sweet!  This Friday’s recipe is very special and really encompasses why I started Heirloom Kitchen.  A few years ago, my friend Gina made me these biscotti for Christmas.  Hands down, these are the most delicious biscotti I have ever had.  A delicious combination of anise and almond, they are light, crunchy, and simply perfect with a cup of coffee.  She was gracious to share the recipe with me and I have made them countless times since.

What really makes these biscotti so special however, is not merely how they taste, but where they come from.  This recipe was created by Gina’s paternal Nonna, Olga Giovannoni and came here with her, all the way from South Africa. 

Gina has told me many stories about this wonderful woman.  She worked from the age of ten at the family farm and even managed the accounting!  Gina also credits her Nonna with teaching her to garden, bake everything from scratch and most importantly, how having a smile and a good heart is more important than anything else in life. 

Born in Croatia but raised in South Africa, she learned to cook Croatian food from her mother and then, Italian food for her husband.  Not only a phenomenal cook she was also a talented seamstress and of course, a beloved Nonna to Gina and her brothers. 

By passing this recipe on to her granddaughter, then me and now you, her spirit and love continue to thrive.  That is the reason I consider ALL of these recipes I am sharing with you, family ‘heirlooms.’  Passed on from fathers, mothers to sons and daughters, we are able to share the food of our older generations with the young.  Therefore, every time a batch of these delicious biscotti come out of the oven or any special recipe from our beloved Nonnas, we know, they are smiling down on all of us.

Nonna Olga's Biscotti


Prep time:         Total time: 

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons anise seed
1 tablespoon almond extract
5 cups AP flour
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup blanched, slivered almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a standing mixer, combine eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine anise seed, almond extract, flour, salt, and baking powder.  Once combined, gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until incorporated and a soft dough begins to form.  Add the nuts and mix again.
  3. Scoop out dough onto a flour-dusted board and make two balls.  Form the dough into two long logs and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Make sure they are at least three inches apart.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until dough has spread and are firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Using a serrated knife, cut cookies to desired thickness.  I like a 1 ½ inch biscotti, nice and fat!  Place them cut side down onto the baking sheet and return to the oven.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes until the center is cooked through and biscotti are nice and crunchy.

Buon Appetito!