Saturday, October 12, 2013

Biscotti

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
2 eggs
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.]

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