Traditional Italian Pepper Biscuits

These savory Italian biscuits are satisfyingly crisp and slightly crumbly. They are all-occasion biscuits too. Serve them as a part of an antipasto. Crumble them into "croutons" for a unique salad topping. Or savor them with a hot espresso or tea.

Makes 30 biscuits
Print recipe only here.

1 cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, hand mix olive oil, water, salt, black pepper, and fennel seed. Add baking powder and flour. Mix until well blended and a dough begins to forms. Lightly work the dough with your hands until the texture is oily and smooth. If the dough is too sticky, then mix in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour at a time, until smooth.

Using your hands, pinch off a 2-tablespoon size piece of dough. Roll the dough between lightly floured hands. Roll into a thin cigar shape that is approximately 8 inches long. Form a U shape, then criss-cross the pieces until a braid forms. Place 15 biscuits per baking sheet. Brush tops of biscuits with egg wash. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating pans mid-way through. Biscuits should have a golden color and be crisp on the bottom. Remove from oven and place on a cookie rack to cool completely.

Biscuits should be stored in an air-tight tin container (preferably tin to maintain their crispness) and kept in a cool area, such as a cupboard. Properly stored, they should last up to one month.