Last week was not an exciting week in my kitchen. On Sunday I visited my aunt & uncle for dinner and was sent home with a large tupperware full of chili. On Monday I started on a new inpatient service at the hospital which is always a bit of an adjustment schedule-wise. By the time Thursday rolled around I had eaten way too much chili, way too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I missed my kitchen. So, instead of catching up on much needed sleep, I decided that enough was enough. No matter how early I had to be in to the hospital the next morning I had to spend some time in my kitchen. So I got out some flour, butter, my microplane zester (that I love so much), a few other ingredients and made these biscotti.
I am a huge fan of biscotti and have tried many, many different recipes. These almond biscotti are by far my favorite. The texture is always perfect – crispy enough on the outside that you want to dip them in coffee but soft enough on the inside that you don’t have to. The orange zest, almond and vanilla are perfect compliments to one another. No flavor stands out too much and together they create a delicious combination that is irresistble.
If you’ve never made them, biscotti (from the Latin “biscoctus” meaning “twice-baked”) are fun to make. The shaping of two loaves, baking, slicing then baking again always makes me feel like I’m making something a little more special than a simple cookie. So stay up late and make yourself a treat because when Friday afternoon rolls around and it’s a perfect fall day you’ll be glad you have something like this to share for anyone who might stop by for a cup of coffee.
Yield: 3 dozen
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped or sliced almonds
1 large egg white
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest in large bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.
Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over top and sides of each dough log.
Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 30 minutes. Cool logs completely on sheet on rack, about 25 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
Transfer logs to work surface; discard parchment paper. Using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.
Do ahead: Can be prepared one week ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, original recipe from Bon Appetite December 1999