Twice-baked Cookies (Biscotti)
[from Lowfat International Cuisine by Jane Rubey.
Anything in brackets is my addition. S.M.]
2 cups whole, unsalted, unblanched almonds, toasted*
½ cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour, very finely ground
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. anise seeds, finely crushed [and orange peel ½ tsp.]
8 ozs. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°. In a large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. [The salt may be instead crushed with the anise and orange peel.] Chop almonds somewhat coarsely. Add sifted dry ingredients along with seeds and almonds to batter. Mix briefly until the dough pulls together. Divide dough into three equal parts. On a greased sheet, pat each third into a strip 3" x 8", about 1" high. Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove each strip to a cutting board and cut, somewhat diagonally, into ½" slices. Turn each slice onto its side and return to baking sheet. Continue baking another 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.
To coat with chocolate: melt chocolate over hot, not boiling, water; take care not to splash any water into chocolate. Dip one end, about ¼ to 1/3 of the cookie, into chocolate. Spread evenly and remove excess with small spatula. Place on waxed paper or parchment-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate to harden. Remove from paper and store in a tight container in a cool place.
*To Toast Nuts: spread nuts in a single layer on a large baking sheet (or glass dish for microwave). Place in 375° oven for 5 to 10 minutes (or in microwave at full power for several minutes). Watch closely, turning several times to prevent scorching. When properly toasted, nuts will give off a rich aroma and be lightly browned. If toasting unblanched almonds, break open a nut and look for a lightly browned interior.
[Switch walnuts in place of almonds and some of the flour with cocoa powder for a tasty variation. Another variation is to simply add craisins. This will decrease shelf life by only a little.]