Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dad's Favorite Biscotti

Back in, oh, let's say 1995, I REALLY liked the show Friends. So much so that I bought the official cookbook. Yes, the show was so big it had a companion cookbook. I've only made a handful of the recipes in it, but this one was a huge hit with my dad, so from time to time I like to pull the book out, dust it off and throw a batch of these together for him. It's by no means a perfect recipe - the cookies are incredibly dense for my taste and there's more almonds than I'd call necessary, but overall the little cookies turn out pretty tasty.

I'm pretty sure the book is out of print now, so I will share the recipe without guilt:

Italian Almond Biscotti
3/4 cup whole almonds with skin
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs (I use Ener-G Egg replacer for 2, leaving the last one out)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp almond extract, because I had some on hand)

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the almonds out on a large baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 5 minutes. Cool the almonds and then chop them roughly.

2. Stir the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Use your hands to make a well in the dry ingredients. Crack 2 eggs [or pour egg replacer] into the well. Add the vanilla and use a fork (and then your hands) to mix well. If the dough seems wet, knead in some more flour [Mine was actually really dry this time, so I added some water]. When the dough is smooth (it should be fairly stiff and dry), work in the nuts with your hands.

3. Grease and then flour a large baking sheet. Turn the dough onto a floured counter. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a log that measures about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between the longs.

4. Beat the remaining egg with a fork. Brush the beaten egg over the logs. (This will give them a shiny coating when baked.} [Or skip this step entirely and have dull-looking cookies.] Bake the logs until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Wearing an oven mitt or other protective gear to hold the logs in place, use a serrated knife to cut them crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4-inch-thick cookies.

5. Lay the cookies on one side and return the baking sheet to the oven. Toast until the biscotti are crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool the biscotti on racks and store in an airtight container for weeks.

6. [This step I created all on my own - you're welcome] Melt a handful or two of chocolate chips over a double boiler. Dip cooled cookies into chocolate. Lay chocolate-dipped cookies on a sheet of waxed paper and cool in the fridge.

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