Wednesday, March 5, 2008

almond biscotti

almond biscotti

This biscotti is what I like to think of as a Hole in One Recipe. And I know what you’re thinking, “Deb, golf? You never seemed the type.” And you’d be exactly correct; willingly standing outside in the heat and humidity for hours at a time wearing funny shoes is an enigma to me. But a hole in one? This I can compute.

biscotti batteregg white washbefore first bakingafter first baking

You see, sometimes it takes several tries to come up with the recipe you’d hope for to make the thing you crave exactly as you are sure it should be–for example, I have not yet found the perfect yellow layer cake and I’m still remiss over my two recent butterscotch pudding disasters. But biscotti? I got what I wanted on the very first try.

after first bakingcooled and slicedhalf flipped, mid-second bakebiscotti, fin

Well, two years ago I did. But, being me, the type that is always looking gift horses in the mouth, I was unable to leave well enough alone and tried a different recipe last month that was plenty tasty, but a little sweet, not crisp enough and had a funny grit to it I couldn’t get past. So I sighed heavily and dramatically (while chomping on an admittedly delicious but still not my ideal biscotti) and dusted this recipe off. But did I make it the way I always had, the way I had always loved? Of course not. I had to tweak this and change that and ended up with something that was distinctly off. This time I actually screamed, cried and threw a few things but finally resigned myself to the fact that I will just never learn.

almond biscotti

So without further ado, here is the biscotti recipe you are owed, that I should have never messed with. They’re lightly sweet, perfectly crisp and have just enough almond, orange and vanilla to make you sigh, without overwhelming the cookie. They keep deliciously for a week or up to two–though they won’t last that long–and they’re a real show-off when you have people over, especially when you dunk them into some chocolate pudding or lean them against a dish of fennel ice cream. Pretty much the only thing they don’t do is create world peace. Fortunately, another cookie has that covered.

favorite biscotti

Almond Biscotti
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 1999

They’re supposed to make 3 dozen, but my batch yielded at least 45

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped or sliced almonds

1 large egg white

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, orange liquer and zest in large bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.

Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over top and sides of each dough log.

Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 30 minutes. Cool logs completely on sheet on rack, about 25 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Transfer logs to work surface; discard parchment paper. Using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.

Do ahead: Can be prepared one week ahead, though mine have kept even longer. Store in airtight container at room temperature.


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