One of my favorite confections has to be biscotti. Maybe it was because the word isn’t in English, but I was always too intimidated to try to make my own biscotti (Note: the language barrier in this case had no bearing on the difficulty of this recipe. I wish I could say the same for cannoli and French macarons, but I had no such luck there)…Until last summer, when I found myself in a 6 week post-graduation boredom-fest and attempted to cook everything under the sun. I stumbled upon a family recipe book and followed the instructions of a very distant zia (aunt) of mine.. What came out of the oven that afternoon was my favorite dessert I’ve ever baked. The name of this treat is actually pretty interesting, as it tells you what to do in the baking process. Biscotti is simply the plural for the Italian word biscotto which means “twice-cooked”. This is exactly what you do to the cookie – bake it twice!
Several batches and tweaks later, I came up with my own spin on the recipe. In case you’re interested, here it is!
- 1 & 2/3 cups of whole natural almonds
- 1 & 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for dusting
- 1 cup superfine sugar plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling on top of the loaves [I’ve also used a natural substitute, like Truvia, for half of the required sugar. 1/2 cup of sugar is equivalent to 12 packets of Truvia or 84 grams. http://truvia.com/recipes/conversion_chart ]
- 2 eggs [ I’ve also had success with 1 egg and 2 egg whites ]
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
[Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper]
Coarsely chop the almonds into uneven pieces. (I put mine in a doubled-up gallon size Ziploc and hit them with the back of the ice cream scooper.. There’s definitely not an easier way, right?)
Mix flour, sugar (or substitute), baking powder, cinnamon, and chopped almonds in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla extract until incorporated, and slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Use your hands to completely mix together to form a firm dough.
On your covered cookie sheets, divide the dough into 2 long, thick, “loaf” shapes (about 2 inches wide each). Sprinkle each with a pinch of sugar or brown sugar, then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden and firm.
Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool for several minutes. Reduce oven heat to 320 degrees F. Cut the loaves into 1/2-inch slices, and place the biscotti cut-side down on the cookie sheets. Bake for a remaining 15-20 minutes until dry and crunchy. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!