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Almond and fennel seed biscotti

Diana Henry / 21 March 2016

Diana Henry's delicious recipe for sweet and crunchy almond and fennel seed biscotti are perfect with a cup of tea and can be kept in a tin for two weeks.

Almond and fennel seed biscotti
Almond and fennel seed biscotti

Cooking time

20 minutes




  • 215g self-raising flour
  • 215g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 175g whole, toasted blanched almonds


I first saw almond trees in in the spring in Portugal; frothy clouds against a dry landscape, the blossom seemed more beautiful than that of any cherry tree.

The almond’s delicacy – it is delicate in both shape and flavour - and its paleness have meant that it is regarded as pure, even regal. 

Brits and Americans don’t give it the hallowed respect it enjoys in other cultures. Spain and Italy have an endless array of almond confections - innumerable brittle biscotti; the almond nougat called turron; soft fior di mandorle and the ubiquitous amaretti

Moroccans eat soft pastries made with ground almonds and orange flower water. Go into any patisserie in Provence and the smell of almonds, vanilla and warm sugar is what immediately assails you.

Line a baking sheet with silicone or greaseproof paper. Put the flour, caster sugar, fennel seeds, nuts and salt into a mixing bowl and mix together thoroughly with a fork.

In another bowl, put the eggs, yolks, and vanilla, and whisk briefly, then beat this mixture into the flour. Work until you have a firm dough. If it's too sticky, shake on a little flour and if it's too dry, sprinkle on a little water.

Put onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two. Shape each piece into a brick about 10 cm long, 5cm wide and 2.5cm deep. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes. They should be golden brown.

Remove and transfer to wire racks and leave to stand for about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 160C. With a large, sharp knife, cut the bricks on the bias into 1cm slices and put these back on the baking sheets. Return to the oven for 20 minutes, Put the biscuits onto wire racks to cool.

Storage tip

These will keep in a tin for two weeks or longer. If they soften because of humidity, just return them to a low oven for 10 minutes and they will crisp up again.

Visit our baking recipes section for more delicious biscuits, cakes and more.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.