Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! Of course, if I were a savvy and forward-thinking food blogger, I would have planned things better so I would actually have a Mother’s Day post ready and rearin’ to go before said holiday. But, like I said, I need to work on the whole planning ahead thing. Still working out the kinks over here, but anyway……Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
To celebrate the occasion (which I will actually properly highlight in a subsequent post…because I’m a planner, remember) I’m writing about biscotti. Why? Because I didn’t feel biscotti were coming up enough in the conversations I’ve been privy to. It’s time biscotti got their 15 minutes of fame. Enter: my almond biscotti.
I made these biscotti after a previous attempt resulted in mezzaluna-shaped hockey pucks. Actually, what was funnier than me almost snapping a tooth on the cookie was my face as I tried to bite down and failed miserably at doing so. Imagine, if you will, placing a firm and dry (yes, you can equate it to stale, even) cookie in the corner of your mouth. You’re fully expecting to bite down with maybe only a smidgen of resistance, but instead you put the full force of your jaw into your teeth and the cookie doesn’t budge. Not only that, but you used so much force that you’ve left little tooth imprints in the biscotti (cinder block?) so you can no longer easily open your jaw to release the cookie. With your right eye now squinting and watering, you try to unhinge your jaw even wider than you know it can humanly go, but drool starts to run out of the other corner of your lips because the inside of your mouth has now been exposed to open air for longer than it wanted to have been.
After months of therapy to overcome my post-traumatic biscotti disorder, I believe I’ve finally “cracked” the code. (Get it? See what I did there with that pun? No? Oh, OK. Nevermind, then.)
I simply cut way way way way way down on the baking time, and the result was miraculous. By my estimation, the first time I made these, I had originally baked them for a combined total of…wait for it…82 minutes, and that’s NOT including the time I left them in a warm-yet-turned-off oven to help them “firm up.” Before you judge, you should know that….OK, I really don’t have any excuse. I should have known better. By all means, judge away.
But in The Great Biscotti Redux, I did a little research and learned a few things about these cookies. Did you know…
1. Biscotti means “twice baked.”
2. There’s very little fat in them (ie, there’s no butter or oil), so they tend to be lower in calories and also keep longer.
3. They were really popular in medieval times (the historical period, not the theme restaurant) because you could dry out the cookies by baking them twice and then they could travel and keep for a while. Since there was no refrigeration back then (and salt preservation would have been ill advised when it came to cookies), this was a good little treat to take on the go.
4. This is, perhaps, the most important thing I learned about biscotti: When you take them out of the oven to cool, they continue to firm up and dry out, so pulling them out when they’re still a little soft is best.
Chomp! When you put all the lessons (which I’ve outlined in the recipe below) together, you get one very tasty, slightly chewy/firm cookie that soaks up hazelnut coffee beautifully. A perfect treat for, well, whenever. It’s a cookie, for crying out loud! It’s always going to be a perfect treat!
Alright, enough of this silliness. Enjoy!
Update: I received a comment from a reader regarding the exact shape and size of the dough log. To help alleviate confusion, here are some pre-baking pictures of what the biscotti dough should look like.
The dough should be rolled out into the shape of a log, similar to a meatloaf. As you can see by the ruler, the dough should be about 2 inches wide.
In terms of length, the dough should be about 15 inches long.
As you can sort of see from my shot, this is what the dough should look like. (Admittedly, I may have gone a little heavy on the flour. My apologies. I hope you still love me.)
Sorry guys! I hope this clarifies any confusion.
Biscotti, meaning "twice baked," are notoriously hard and brittle. These almond biscotti are firm, yet slightly chewy, and are perfect for dunking in hazelnut coffee.
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, sift together sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg white, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
- In batches, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
- Fold in the toasted almonds.
- Pour the dough out onto a WELL FLOURED cutting board, and sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough. The key here is to make sure the dough doesn't stick, because it is an unscrupulously sticky dough.
- Roll the dough into a long log that's about 2 inches wide and 15 inches long. Carefully transfer the dough log onto the sheet pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the dough and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer the dough log to a cutting board. Slicing diagonally, trim about 1/4 to 1/2 inch off each end of the log. Then, continuing to cut diagonally, slice the biscotti about 3/4 of an inch thick.
- Turn the biscotti on their side and place back in the oven for 8 minutes. Turn them over to the other side, and bake for 8 minutes more.
- Let cool on a cooking rack before eating.