Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recipe: Tuscan Almond Anise Biscotti

This recipe comes from Carole Walter's book Great Cookies. It is a delicious cookie that combines almond flavor, anise and pepper into a delicious crunchy cookie.
You can easily modify the texture to make it the way you prefer - either finely chopped almonds or bigger pieces...
I modified the recipe slightly -- I added 1/2 tsp pepper and used whole almonds that I toasted and chopped vs. sliced almonds called for in the recipe. The pepper is subtle and the almonds give it a nice texture.

This is a "hard biscotti" recipe meaning that it makes a hard cookie-- this is due to the fact that there is no fat added (no oil or butter, only egg yolks). In turn it produces a crunchy cookie. Also, because it makes a heavily textured cookie, it is better to cut these with a straight edge knife rather than a serrated edge one.
This dough is also more of a batter and less of a dough... This means it is a little bit tricky to work with when shaping into loaves, but it really isn't that hard. It tends to be looser than doughs I am used to working with.

With all that being said, it makes a highly tasty cookie and a very, very good cookie. I think it is my best batch. Here goes:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
3 tsp orange zest
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup sugar
1 tsp anise extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups toasted almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 350
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment AND spray with cooking spray.

Spill almonds onto cookie sheet and toast in oven 6 -8 minutes. The almonds will give off a delicious scent. Do not let burn, just allow to get slightly brown. Let cool slightly and then chop to desired size. I would suggest finer rather than larger size pieces...

In a stand mixer, beat eggs until mixed and add in the sugar, turn the speed of the mixer to high and whip until the eggs are very stiff and light yellow colored, about 9 minutes.

While the eggs are mixing, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt & pepper.
Add the zests and extracts to the eggs.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and stir in the flour mixture. Once combined, remove from the mixer and stir in the chopped nuts.

Divide batter into 3 parts making 3 logs (the recipe calls for 4, but I like the size of the 3 logs).
Spoon the batter into 3 logs on the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 16 - 20 minutes or until the loaves are set and the top is lightly browned.
Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 - 12 minutes.
Remove one at a time to a cutting board.

Gently and carefully, cut slices from the loaf into 1/4" - 1/2" slices.

Return slices to baking sheet. Return to oven and bake 9 minutes.
Remove from oven, flip biscotti over and return to oven for an additional 6 minutes.
Allow to cool thoroughly and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

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