Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bake 52: Almond Biscotti

It's hard to believe that this year is almost over. It has flown by. This is my last week to host in Bake 52, and I chose Almond Biscotti. I have never tasted biscotti. I'm glad I decided to try it, because I thought it tasted great. I can see now why they often accompany a warm drink, though, because they are crisp, crisp, crisp! They won't be an all-the-time cookie for me, but I think I'll make them now and then in the winter to have with my hot chocolate. I made the almond flavor, but there are several variations at the end of the recipe, and I'm sure countless more varieties.

Almond Biscotti 
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Biscotti are Italian cookies that are baked twice--the first baking actually cooks the dough, while the second baking makes the cookies crisp and dry. 

2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) almonds, toasted and chopped coarse
2 tablespoons grated fresh orange zest (optional)

Toasting the almonds.
Nice golden, toasted almonds.

Beautiful orange zest & chopped almonds.
I used the orange for an air freshener. I sliced it up, added water, and simmered it. You could also add a cinnamon stick or vanilla for a different scent.
 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and almond extract until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the almonds and zest (if using) until just incorporated.
4. Press the dough into two 13 by 2-inch loaves on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 3 inches apart. Bake the loaves until golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes (mine was done in 30), rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.


5. Let the loaves cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

6. Transfer the loaves to a cutting board and slice each on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes, flipping the slices over halfway through baking. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving, about 1 hour.

I planned on dipping the tops in chocolate, but I overheated it and didn't have any more to melt :(
PISTACHIO BISCOTTI - Omit the almond extract and substitute shelled, unsalted pistachios, toasted and shopped course, for the almonds.
CHOCOLATE CHIP BISCOTTI - Omit the almond extract and substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips for almonds.
 LEMON-ANISE BISCOTTI - Omit the almond extract and almonds. Add 1 tablespoon anise seed with the vanilla extract and substitute 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest for the orange zest. 

These made great neighbor gifts with a cute packet of hot cocoa.


Valerie said...

What a great Christmas gift. I loved these and am so glad we made them!

SydneyMin said...

Very nice! You know my husband would be all over those biscotti!

Amanda said...

See, I knew I had heard of a chocolate dipped variety! Bummer about the chocolate, but the biscotti look perfect! Thanks for hosting this week!