I always thought I hated biscotti. Growing up in an Italian family, I always expected biscotti to be flavored by anise--a flavor I detest. Then, once I was old enough to start frequenting coffee shops, I found that while not all biscotti contained anise, they tended to be either dry and tasteless or so covered in icing or chocolate that they no longer resembled a true biscotti. It wasn't until I was in college that I was introduced to a biscotti I could actually enjoy and I have been going back to the same recipe ever since. I have tried a lot of different almond biscotti recipes since then--many of which have been very good-- but, ultimately, I always end up coming back to this one.
The biscotti it produces are crunchy and sweet, but they are not \your traditional cantuccini. Because they have some fat in the dough, they are a tiny bit softer to the bite than the cantuccini I would find (and avoid) at weddings as a child. These ones are perfectly crisp on the outside with a slightly softer interior that easily yields to your bite. So, while these are excellent dipped in a cup of coffee or espresso, they are also perfect on their own; they are not too hard to eat dry. The butter also adds a certain richness that biscotti often lack.
1 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup slivered almond (or ¼ cup ground almonds and ¼ cup slivered almonds)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 tsp almond extract
- Adjust rack to center position and heat the oven to 350 degree. Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nuts in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a small bowl combine the eggs, butter and vanilla and whisk to fully combine.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, mix to combine until a rough dough forms.
- Dump the dough onto a work surface and knead until the dough comes together. It may appear dry at first, but it will all come together eventually.
- Start to form the dough into a big, fat cigar and cut it in half. Form each half into a cigar about 1 inch thick, 2 inches wide and about 12 inches long. Place them onto the cookie sheet and lightly press with fingers to slightly flat cigars.
- Bake for 25 minutes reversing the pan halfway through. The bars will be firm to the touch and just slightly browned. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 300 degrees. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 15 minutes.
- Remove cookies to a cutting board using two spatulas. Using a sharp knife, slice the bars on an angle about 1/2 inch tick to form the biscotti. Lay them back on the cookie sheet with either cut side down and place back in oven for 10 minutes. Turn each cookie to expose the other cut side and place in oven for another 10 minutes.
- Let cool on a rack to room temperature. Place cookies in an airtight container and keep for up to a week. These cookies also freeze very well.