Italian Wine Biscuits

March 19, 2010
5 Ratings
  • Serves about 30 biscuits
Author Notes

Italian wine biscuits are not that well known in the U.S. You won't find them in the supermarket or at the corner bakery. You may find them in traditional Italian bakeries in Italian-American neighborhoods. Where you will definitely find them is in an Italian Nonna's kitchen. If you don't have an Italian nonna, don't worry. I'm sharing my Italian nonna's recipe with you. My family doesn't use one particular type of wine, just a good dry red wine will do. (Remember, if you wouldn't drink it, don't bake with it either.) Also, the darker the wine, the deeper lavender the biscuit will be. Also use a quality olive oil for the best flavor, though it doesn't have to be extra virgin. —Food Blogga

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup good dry red wine
  • 1 cup quality olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 egg lightly beaten, for egg wash
  1. 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.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir wine and olive oil.
  3. In a large bowl, stir sugar, flour, baking powder, and fennel seed. Stir in liquids. Stir until well blended and a dough begins to forms. Lightly work the dough with your hands until the texture is oily, smooth, and springy. If the dough is too sticky, then mix in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour at a time, until smooth.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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13 Reviews

Karen B. July 23, 2022
These are really delicious. Very flavorful and perfect with wine or coffee. I used a 2 Tablespoon measure and measured exactly, but only ended up with 26 biscuits instead of 30. I was a bit concerned about how oily the dough was, and that the oil separated as the dough sat while I was measuring out and shaping the biscuits. However, I just gently re-mixed the oil in as I went along. The oiliness goes completely away as the biscuits bake.
Rose December 3, 2020
Very weird comments:
These cookies are perfect just as recipe states. It's really personal presence if someone makes changes. In Italy, fennel and olive oil is a staple. They are found all over, and with slightly different combinations. Nothing wrong with any of them. Just enjoy. With or without a glass of wine.

learnoff December 18, 2017
I love these cookies and make them according to the recipe. I'd like to make them gluten free. Any suggestions? Can I just substitute the flour with a GF baking mix? Anything specific I should know?
William D. October 11, 2017
I make these but not with olive oil or fennel...I make the fennel ones too but not with wine(same recipe with water and 3 to 4 tablespoons fennel). Guess it depends on where you grew up but here in RI we make red wine , white, and fennel biscuits just not mixed. It is same recipe with 1 cup wine, 1 sugar, 1 cup corn or vegetable oil , 4 c flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder. I guess you could use an olive oil but a plain tasting one and not EVVO as it just would not taste right. I like the red wine one's best and I use a decent Port wine in mine or Carlo Rossi Burgundy which is what my Nana used.
William D. October 11, 2017
We also make Black pepper biscuits with the same recipe using just plain water instead of wine.
Ruthann June 26, 2015
sorry about the spelling below hard to type on my phone
Ruthann June 26, 2015
Sorry you are wrong here is the "State of Rhode Island" we are the smallest state in the USA but have many bakeshops and they wine biscuits are found every where. Also you do not use olive oil the Will said below. IN our house egg and wine biscuits are like bread. I was just look for something different to try.
Will D. October 24, 2013
PS...never ever use Extra Virgin olive oil, it will taste very nasty, you can use a very light tasting olive oil but in fact it comes out much better if using a non-flavor light tasting or no taste oil, we use Smart Balance at home and in the bakery they use Mazola Canola oil. Most Italians use plain old vegetable oil or shortening. Even with a more savory type of Pepper biscuits we don't use olive oil as the result is better with regular old cooking oil. Also cheaper but the main reason is taste. You can even use butter for a different taste altogether. Some folks put almonds in them or on top, I like the plain simple one the best.
Will D. October 7, 2013
We make these in my family bakery. We do not put fennel into the biscuits as they take away from the wine taste, we make a separate fennel anisette biscuits. For a more special biscuit, substitute a good Port wine! We also make white wine biscuits. Red is my favorite.
FamilyStyle F. August 23, 2011
These are my favorite! I don't have much of a sweet tooth (unless it's chocolate), so wine biscuits are perfect for me. It's hard to explain how good these are to people unfamiliar with Italian snacks. I stock up at our favorite family bakery whenever I visit home and then wonder why I never bake them myself, but with your recipe right in front of me now I have no excuse!
Kitchen B. March 26, 2010
I like the idea of wine in bakes. I've made red-wine pastry for Empanadas and the resulting purple hue is lovely! I like! Very much!
Food B. March 25, 2010
Hi Linzarella. They're mildly sweet. Not as sweet as a cookie, but definitely sweeter than a cracker. They actually pair well with wine and cheese as much as they do with coffee. And, yes, they're fun!
linzarella March 20, 2010
This sounds like the dessert of my dreams. How sweet do they come out? I'm envisioning something that you could almost eat like a cracker, only a little more fun.