This is the beginning of a series on Italian biscotti. I'm posting this basic almond biscotti recipe to start, then once or twice a month I will bake a recipe from Lou Seibert Pappas' authoritative book, Biscotti.
Legend states that an enterprising Italian baker created these cookies to send with sailors on long voyages. The cookies kept well because these were baked without butter. In addition to keeping well, they are very easy to make. No need to spend a lot of money on gourmet biscotti because you can make them at home with only a few basic ingredients—flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and almonds. They have a dry, crunchy texture, so they make perfect dunking cookies for coffee or milk.
Most recipes I've seen do the second baking right on the pan and then you turn the biscotti half way through. I like to do the second baking on the wire rack because air circulates all around the cookie, so they dry more easily and I can skip the turning step.
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
- cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
- wire rack that fits into the cookie sheet
- 4 ounces blanched almonds
- 2½ cups flour
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 eggs
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in oven until lightly golden. Let cool. Coarsely chop half the nuts.
- In bowl of stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.
- Beat in eggs, then stir in the whole and chopped nuts. Mix to obtain a firm dough. NOTE: Dough should be sticky. Do not add extra flour.
- On a floured work surface, knead briefly, then divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece under your hands into a cylinder 15 inches long and about 1-½ inches in diameter. Place 2 rolls, well separated, on baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until very lightly browned and firm to the touch. The dough will spread during baking.
- With a spatula, carefully transfer the rolls to a cutting board and slice each one diagonally about ½-inch thick. Remove the parchment paper and set the wire rack on the baking sheet, and then lay out the biscotti on the rack. Return to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until very firm and crisp.
- Cool on the rack, then transfer biscotti to an airtight container for long keeping.
- Dip the biscotti in dark chocolate and allow the chocolate to set before serving.
- Traditional biscotti are flavored with anise; however, I have an intense dislike for that particular flavor, so I never use it. If you like anise, include ½ to 1 teaspoon of anise extract when you add the eggs.