Sunday, January 16, 2011

Italian Biscotti with Almonds

I've been a good girl, honestly! 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, I do declare.  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 enjoyed reading this little bit of biscotti history that I found on NPR:

"The biscotti found in stylish cafes today have utterly common origins. The first biscotti, often referred to as Biscotti di Prato, were created in 14th-century Tuscany in the city of Prato and were made from almonds, which were abundant in the region.

Because the second baking drew moisture out of the biscuit, it rendered the biscotti hard, sturdy and, importantly, resistant to mold. Consequently, biscotti turned out to be the ideal food to store. They soon became a favored provision of sailors, including Christopher Columbus, who traveled at sea for months at a time with the crunchy cargo."

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!

Dough mixed, logs made and ready for baking: 


After the first baking, the logs are allowed to cool slightly before slicing with a sharp, serrated knife and returned to the baking sheet for the second baking.


The aroma of the toasted almonds and orange zest is wonderful!


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!


I hope you'll try making some traditional Italian biscott and happy dunking to you!



(I almost forgot to post the recipe!)

Italian Biscotti with Almonds
Adapted from Susan Russo's Recipe found on NPR
Printable Recipe

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.

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I'll joining Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday!  Thank you for hosting, Mary!


64 comments:

  1. Your CANTUCCI (this is these biscotti's Tuscan name) are PERFECT!!!! BRAVA!!!

    I invite you and all your friends to join to my "romantic" contest...and if some winners are out of Italy I'm going to send prizes all around the world!!!

    HAve a nice Sunday afternoon...hugs, Flavia

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  2. I wanted to make biscotti during the holidays, but ran out of time. I think the recent cold weather justifies that I make a batch soon. Your recipe looks perfect and so pretty stored in the jar.

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  3. They look delicious - perfect for the usual January cravings!!

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  4. First of all your photos are so beautiful! You know i will bookmark these and make one day..I can't even pick a favorite photo.The Light's Right :) everywhere.
    Thank you Susan.C'est beau beau beau.

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  5. OMG I love biscottis and these are amazing and delicious!! Love your pics!! gloria

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  6. I love Biscotti Susan! It's a favorite because it does store so well! I haven't tried adding some whole wheat flour yet, but will the next time I make them! Beautiful pics:@)
    I see you're using a Silpat, I find that my silicone liners puff up, or bubble in the oven. Does the Silpat stay flat?

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  7. This sounds like a very easy recipe. I want it now!!

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  8. Susan, what a beautiful treat you made. Your photos are wonderful and I felt like I was in a high end coffee shop with the jar of biscotti and the beautiful MC cup of cappuccino.

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  9. You've done it again..these are perfection! My biscotti seem to crumble a little so I will try your recipe. Am surprised though it didn't have some almond extract or paste in it..do the almonds themselves give them enough almond flavoring?
    Beautiful photos..

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  10. I don't eat biscotti often - most of what I have had was just to hard, and with little taste. Yours sounds good.
    The soup in the last post sounds and look so good. I love a big bowl of hearty soup. I need to clean out my freezer anyway, so just may have to make a pot of some kind of soup this week.
    Enjoy your evening.
    Glenda

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  11. Susan, we don't eat many sweets, but when it comes to a good biscotti, I cannot resist. This looks like a wonderful recipe to print and tuck away when we say it's "time". Thank you.

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  12. Thank you, friends!

    Flavia, I didn't know that Cantucci was the Tuscan name for biscotti. Thank you!

    Lynn, yes, the Silipat stays flat. I've had mine for about 5 years and it has never bubbled in the oven.

    Barb, with 3 cups of almonds, yes, it does have wonderful almond flavor.

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  13. This has been on my list to make, the last photo is beautiful!

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  14. Beautiful! I love biscotti but haven't made it in some time. Delicious with coffee or tea in the cold winter.

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  15. These make wonderful "I am thinking of you" gifts. Just slip one into a cellophane bag made for pretzel rods. Delightful!

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  16. You make it sound so simple, I am going to give it try. Thanks for the recipe.

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  17. I've been making almond biscotti for a long time and like your recipe better than the one I'm using. No added fat is a bonus and 3 cups of almonds - wow, my recipe calls for only 1/3 cup. Mine are double baked too - but putting them in the warm oven will save electricity.
    Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

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  18. So pretty...these beautiful photos make me want to learn to drink coffee ... now that is not gonna happen but I sure could enjoy that beautiful biscotti!!! Have a wonderful week!!!

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  19. Oh yummy! Everything looks so wonderful.

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  20. I'm looking forward to using this recipe. my daughter brought home two types of biscotti for Christmas and I got used to having a piece each morning - time to make some more...thanks!

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  21. I love Susan Russo's recipes! Almonds are very heart healthy so you are doing a good thing for yourself by eating one delicious biscotti a day! :)

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  22. Your jar full of biscotti looks just divine!

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  23. Susan, this post has me giddy! I love biscotti, and these are so enticing filled with crunch chunks of almonds. I know that it's January, but I can also envision these cookies dipped in chocolate. :)

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  24. wonderful post and great history and wow you made it with a cappuccino I want one!!

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  25. I've always wanted to make biscotti! Good luck on your biscotti a day challenge, I know I'd loose! LOL!!! I love your blog!

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  26. Your biscotti looks perfect. I have always wanted to try making these! A good idea to keep a jar for dunking. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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  27. These biscottis remind me of the ones I used to get whenever I was in San Fransisco visiting my brother; they were the best biscottis I had ever tasted and I kept trying to figure out the recipe; these are IT!!! great photos too Susan!

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  28. Perfetti!!! sembrano proprio dei veri cantuccini, noi li accompagnmo con il vin santo ma con un bel cappuccino fumante sono anche più buoni ;)

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  29. Sono venuti benissimo! Brava!
    Anch'io li gusto a colazione, con il tè. Mi piacciono molto anche se seguo una vecchia ricetta della mia famiglia. E' sul mio blog.
    Grazie per avermi segnalata questa, la proverò! Non si finisce mai di imparare!
    Buona settimana!

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  30. Susan, biscotti has always been my "go to" sweet item :-) I love the mosaic with the wonderful coffee cup!

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  31. Cantucci or Cantuccini(small) di Prato is the italian name of this traditional biscotto.Cantucci are pefect with a cup of tea and you lovely photos make me watering(google transation help me!),thanks for sharing and thanks for appreciating italian recipes! A warm hug...

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  32. Your biscotti are so elegant; just love these and your recipe sounds fantastic. Your mosaic is superb; wish I could do that.

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  33. Your biscotti is beautiful Susan. I'm not a big sweets eater, but I can't resist a good biscotti.

    The first time I made it I was so happy (thrilled actually) that it looked exactly the same as the picture in the book. That doesn't happen to me very often.
    Sam

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  34. Susan, your biscotti look delicious. The almonds with the orange zest sounds really yummy. Thanks for the recipe.

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  35. Susan, you are superhuman if you can only eat one a day... great story about biscotti.. I never knew they were old... always thought they were a new coffee house invention. I can't wait to make a batch (although they will go much faster in my household!

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  36. I have the tea now all I need is the biscotti for dunking.

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  37. It is so cold here. A biscotti and a latte would be lovely about now. Yum.

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  38. Who can resist a biscotti like this?? Really a lovely recipe, Susan. And when I think of breaking a diet, I think of ice cream, not biscotti. I wouldn't feel guilty at all making these.

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  39. This is a treat I can indulge in without feeling guilty. Lovely cookies and beautiful photos, Susan. I've put this recipe on the top of my stack.

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  40. Oh I wish I had found your blog before Saturday night - we went to a friend's for an Italian and this would have been perfect.

    Really like your blog!

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  41. I would have to have TWO a day, they look fantastic! I am definitely going to have to give this a try. Although you know my baking, someone could break a tooth if I screw it up, LOL!

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  42. beautiful biscotti!!! I half hazardly made biscotti once. I'm thinking I should try it the right way now.

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  43. What can I say, Susan? May I come for coffee and biscotti? No one could possibly do either better!
    The framed photo collages, the detailed and artistic tutorial - and then, the biscotti in the PERFECT jar and that foamy steaming cup of goodness to dip them in. I would say this was a soft place to fall this morning. Absolutely a pleasure to read your work and live vicariously through you. I wish you were close by. I could offer you similar edification the following day.
    Happy Baking. This post will not soon be forgotten.
    :)
    Valerie

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  44. These look awesome! I love Biscotti.Such a great looking recipe. Look so forward to making these. Thanks

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  45. WOW! This looks like a great recipe for something really fun to eat! I wonder if I could cut the sugar! I may try! Hugs! ♥

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  46. Biscotti should be a manditory food group. This is a great recipe! Well done.

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  47. Oh, they look wonderful!!! And although I'm trying to be good, I can definitely see where biscotti might be included now and then in a wholesome eating style... :)

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  48. They look excellent! And as usual, your pictures are wonderful.

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  49. Susan, I add my voice in praise for these biscotti and I AM sure you you have been good lately too! Lovely pics! Joni

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  50. Susan, this could be the best biscotti I have ever seen! With cinnamon, wholewheat and that bunch of almonds....oh, I WANT SOME! Luckily I still have some X'mas leftover cantuccini in the kitchen...

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  51. those are gorgeous! i would leave them in that glass jar all year round just to stare!

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  52. I LOVE biscotti! They keep forever so you don't have to worry about eating them all in five minutes and they satisfy that craving for sweets. These look amazing!

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  53. You are all so kind! Thank you so much for the comments.

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  54. I love making & eating a good biscotti, this looks wonderful too :) Great images.

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  55. Biscotti are among my favorite cookies to make and share (they mail so well). And, I feel less guilty when eating them--even when I've dipped them in chocolate.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  56. The name of this biscuits is "Cantuccini". They look just perfect!
    Ciao,
    Orchidea
    www.viaggiesapori.blogspot.com

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  57. wow! what a beautiful recipe. love love love biscotti! thank you for sharing this and for visiting my site. your pictures are just gorgeous:)

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  58. What an interesting history. I love biscotti and yours look especially good. This is a great anytime cookie- thanks!

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  59. It took me years to try biscotti and I was shocked how easy and wonderful it was. A chocolate with peppermint chips was on the list for the holidays but I didn't get around to it, not that I would mind that right now! (Although THIS WEEK we are TRYING to be GOOD!)

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  60. I adore biscotti! Beautiful photos.

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  61. What a gorgeous jar of biscotti! I also love that they have no butter or oil. And they keep a month? Probably not in my house. ;)

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  62. Mamma mia, que buoni Cantuccini!
    Dear Susan, this is my favorite italian biscotti, thank you so much for the recipe!
    Kisses&huggs

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