1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup roughly chopped dried apricots
2/3 cup green pistachios
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh anise, hyssop or fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped orange zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To make the poached apricots: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, add the apricots and reduce the heat to medium-low. Gently poach the apricots, stirring occasionally, until tender but not mushy, (an apricot should offer a bit of resistance when pierced with a small sharp knife), 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the apricots cool slowly in the syrup. (If the apricots are especially soft to begin with, remove the pan from the heat immediately after you add the fruit to the hot sugar syrup.) Drain the cooled apricots and let sit for about 10 minutes to dry a little.
Meanwhile, toast the pistachios and anise seed. Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes--the nuts should be bright green. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on. Heat a small saute pan over medium-low heat, add the anise seed, and toast lightly, stirring frequently, about 1 minute.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and anise seed in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, hyssop
and orange zest. Add the dry ingredients and toasted pistachios to the egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. (The dough is stiff and sticky--it may be easier to mix it with your hands.)
Divide the dough in half and place one half on one side of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use your hands to form the dough into a chubby log about 12 inches long. (It's not necessary to smooth the surface of the dough, it will even out in the oven.) Repeat the process with the other dough half, leaving about 3 inches between the logs.
Bake for 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the biscotti on a wire rack (or 2 racks if necessary) and place the racks directly on the oven rack. Bake the biscotti for a second time until golden brown, dry, and crisp; 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the racks from the oven and let cool.