Most who know me well, know that I have an enormous sweet tooth. To me, dinner isn’t over until dessert has been served. And, although I like my sweets, I really only want a bite or two of something sweet after a big meal.
Biscotti are a perfect solution. They’ve a long history and their name is derived from the Latin meaning twice baked. Gillian Riley, in her book The Oxford Companion to Italian Food, talks about biscotti:
“Many Italian versions are made by first cooking the mixture in a narrow loaf shape, then letting it cool and cutting it into diagonal slices which are then cooked again in a much lower oven, to become dry and crisp.
Starting out as the sugared, spiced banquet food of the rich in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, biscuits became traditional treats for everyone, and are now everyday pleasures, often eaten for breakfast with coffee, or dunked in chocolate or wine.”
I’ve been making this biscotti recipe for more than 30 years now. On a few occasions I’ve changed the recipe a bit to experiment with something I read in a magazine, or ate in a restaurant, or loved in a bakery. For example, I’ve substituted the almond flour with very finely ground corn meal for an interesting flavor and texture. Or, I’ve added cocoa powder, bloomed in boiling water for several minutes, to the dough for a cocoa flavor. Ultimately though, I always come back to this basic recipe and sub out dried fruits for variety. The biscotti pictured here are apricot and sour cherry.
Here is a recipe from our archives:
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Yield: About 40 cookies
¼ cup almond flour
1 ¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped dry fruit
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 325° F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper, set aside.
Whisk almond flour, flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Add dried fruit and toss to coat fruit evenly, set aside.
Beat eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed until thick, lemon-colored and ribbony, about 5 minutes.
Stir together butter, almond extract and vanilla extract. Add to egg mixture in a slow steady stream, until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl once during mixing, about 30 seconds. Lower speed to low and add almond flour mixture. Mix on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl once during mixing, about 1 minute.
Divide dough into two even pieces, and, with heavily floured hands, shape dough into 2 logs about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide on a floured work surface. Transfer to prepared sheet pan and place 4 inches apart.
Bake until firm, cracked on top, and light golden brown in color, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack, cool 30 minutes.
Slice logs into 20 pieces, about a ½ inch thick on a slight diagonal. Stand cookies up on prepared sheet pan. Return to oven and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 30 additional minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.