During the coldest days of the year, I make frequent trips out to the chicken coop. The hens are fine of course, they’re rated to about -20F (-30 if you speak Celsius), and a few of them will happily wade around in snow up to their egg-holes as long as the sun is shining — but the eggs freeze solid and explode if left in the nests for too long.
I’m nowhere near as cold-hardy as the chickens, but once I’m outside I marvel at the stark beauty of the icy yard and almost manage to forget about the cold.
In the end I’m always glad to be forced out into the elements, because it makes the house seem that much warmer when I come in.
Especially when I have a batch of these toasted anise cake slices fresh out of the oven. They make the house smell heavenly, and the crunchy texture (similar to biscotti) is perfect alongside a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea. Or a bowl of sorbet, when the days get warmer again.
These toasty cake slices are similar to biscotti, and are delicious with a hot cup of coffee or a bowl of lemon sorbet.
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds, finely crushed
- mortar & pestle
- stand mixer
- 8 1/2 by 4 1/2" loaf pan
- Put rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 350F. Lightly butter and flour loaf pan.
- Crush anise seeds using mortar and pestle.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, anise, and salt in a small bowl.
- Beat eggs and sugar in a mixer bowl at high speed until tripled in volume, and thick enough to form a ribbon that takes 2 seconds to fall apart when beater is lifted (about 12-18 minutes)
- Sift flour mixture over egg mixture in 3 batches, folding in each batch.
- Gently stir in butter, and immediately pour batter into loaf pan and smooth top.
- Bake until loaf is golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, and then turn out onto a cutting board (right side up) and cool for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Trim ends and cut loaf into 1/2-inch-thick slides. Arrange slices on a baking sheet and bake until undersides are golden brown, about 7 minutes. Flip and bake until the other side browns, about 5 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Gourmet.