Almond biscotti

Happy New Year! Mike and I found ourselves ringing in the New Year by wringing out mops and cleaning our water laden basement from the massive rain storms.  Thankfully, we didn't incur many losses with the flood damage.  Although it was a pain to clean and disinfect the basement, it is nice to declutter.

On a much yummier note, I've been trying my hand at biscotti.  So far I've made three different batches, slightly tinkering with the flavor profile.  The first batch had too much almond extract for my taste. The second batch was still not quite right, but I believe this last batch is just right.

Biscotti is an Italian cookie, or biscuit, that is baked twice.  Because of the 2nd bake, the cookie is dried and can be stored for longer periods of time.  The Romans found this handy while traveling or during times of war.  Today, most Italians dip their biscotti into vin santo, a sweet dessert wine.  But, if you are like Mike and myself, we dip them into coffee.

Biscotti is usually made from flour, sugar, eggs, and almonds.  The almonds typically have the skins on, but I preferred blanched almonds; mainly for the aesthetics. The recipe is simple, but looks impressive when you are done.  I hope you enjoy!  Here's to good food and gladness.

CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe.  Makes 2 biscotti loaves, approximately 3" by 10".

INGREDIENTS FOR ALMOND BISCOTTI

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped blanched almonds
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS for ALMOND BISCOTTI

  1. In a large mixing bowl, using a hand or stand mixer on low setting, stir together sugar and melted butter.  Add brandy, extracts, and lemon juice & zest.  Continue mixing while adding almonds and eggs.  Increase speed on mixer and gradually add in flour, baking powder and salt until well combined.  The dough will be sticky and slightly moist.
  2. Transfer the dough onto plastic wrap.  Chill the wrapped dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator or 10-15 minutes in the freezer.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Transfer the chilled dough onto a lightly floured counter top.  With a bench scraper, halve the dough.  Lightly flour your hands and gently roll out the dough into a log shape, about 3 inches wide by 10 inches long.  Carefully transfer into a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden.
  5. Remove loaves from the oven and allow to cool on wire racks for 15 minutes.
  6. With a serrated knife, cut the loaves into 1/2 to 3/4  inch slices.
  7. Arrange biscotti, cut side down, on a clean unlined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for an additional 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
  8. Transfer to cooling racks.  
  9. Optional:  When biscotti are completely cooled, melt 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips in microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds.  Stir and repeat if not completely melted.  Drizzle melted chocolate over the tops of the biscotti.