But, sometimes I just need a treat. Not necessarily one loaded with butter and cream or even chocolate (wow, did I just say that?). Biscotti have neither but they sure do satisfy a cookie craving in a big way - especially dipped into a cup of cappuccino in the afternoon or coffee in the morning. Of course, a glass of milk, hot chocolate or glass of Vin Santo would be great for biscotti-dipping also. These delicious biscotti will stand up to some serious dunking. They will soak up your favorite dunking beverage and come out still crunchy to the bite! Also, if made right, they won't break your jaw when you eat them plain either.
I found this recipe in an article on the National Public Radio website written by Susan Russo who also has a wonderful food blog, Food Blogga. What inspired me most to make her recipe was its simplicity and the fact that there were no other oils or butter in the recipe.
I decided to use part whole wheat flour when I made the biscotti rather than all white flour. The taste did not suffer in the least! I'm sorry that I didn't think to take a photo of what they looked like after the first baking, but they do spread out so don't place the logs too close together!
Now that I have a jar-full of them, hopefully, I'll be able to pace myself and savor a biscotti-a-day for a month - which is exactly how long they will keep!
Italian Biscotti with AlmondsAdapted from Susan Russo's Recipe found on NPR
Makes about 36 biscotti (3/4-inch-wide cookies)
3 cups unsalted whole almonds (I buy the large bags at Sam's Club)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups of all purpose and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour)
3 jumbo eggs (or 4 large eggs), plus 1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing tops of loaves
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 2 oranges (2 teaspoons)
Place the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Arrange almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix toasted almonds, sugars, cinnamon, baking powder and flours.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the vanilla and orange zest and whisk until well blended. Add to the flour mixture and stir a few times. Place 1/4 cup of flour near the work bowl and start to work the batter together with floured hands. The mixture will be sticky, but keep squeezing the batter with your hands until a dough starts to form, adding a little more flour at a time if it is too sticky. You do not want to get the dough too dry. Once the dough is firm enough, form a ball. Divide the ball into 4 equal pieces.
On a lightly floured surface, place 1 piece of the dough, and using your hands, roll into a log shape that is approximately 8 inches long, 2 inches wide and 3/4 of an inch high. If it's sticky, simply dust your hands with more flour. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough. Place 2 logs on each baking sheet. Brush the tops and sides of the logs with the lightly beaten egg.
Bake for 40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops of the loaves are shiny and deep golden. Turn oven off and cool on a rack for 20 minutes before slicing.
Place a loaf on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp, serrated knife, cut 3/4-inch-thick slices, either straight across or on the diagonal. Use a sawing motion to prevent crumbling. Each loaf should yield 9 to 11 cookies.
Place slices on their sides back onto the baking sheets. Place in the still warm oven with the temperature off and the door closed for about 30. The longer they stay in the oven, the harder they will become. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing in an airtight container, preferably a tin, which helps keep them crisp. Stored properly, biscotti will last up to a month.