I got into a slight biscotti craze after munching on a bunch of thinly sliced ones from Soho Coffee – a regular haunt just across the street from our town office.
After doing a little research over the weekend, I picked out a biscotti recipe from my trusty Baking Illustrated bake book. Almonds and orange, hmm..seems like such an odd combination. But it turned out quite heavenly.
What distinguishes biscottis from regular cookies you might ask? Well, for one, biscottis are kinda time-intensive baking projects as it requires the same batch of dough to be baked for almost double the time as compared to normal cookies. The name biscotti is actually derieved from the Latin word biscoctus meaning twice-cooked/baked. Because of this longer-than-usual baking technique, the resultant product has a very low moisture content and is thus able to be shelved for longer periods of time. The plain dough also allows many different flavour combinations to be infused within it, some other interesting pairings i have seen are: Maple-Walnut, Chocolate-Peanut, Lemon-Anise and Honey Lavender. All the goodness!
Reviewers (or guinea pigs.hehe) of my little experiment had similar comments upon trying it:
1) 香！ (or my mum would say in teochew “jing pang”)
3) not too sweet, just the right sweetness
So, if would like your biscottis to exhibit all of the attributes stated above (haha), here goes:
- 2 cups (10 oz) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 ts salt
- 4 tbsp (115g) unsalted butter (softened but still cool
- 5 oz sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 3/4 cup whole almonds with skins, toasted, cooled and chopped coarse (do this by toasting it in a pan or small toaster oven till it turns slight brownish (not charred)- keep a close lookout!
- 2 tbsp minced zest from 1 orange
- Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 dF. Grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
- Whisk flour + baking powder + salt in medium bowl, set aside
- Cream butter and sugar till light and smooth using electric hand mixer. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time and then the extracts.
- Stir in almonds and zest
- Sprinkle dry ingredients over egg mixture
- Fold in until dough is just mixed (don’t over do this)
- Halve the dough and turn both portions onto prepared baking sheet.
- Using flour-ed hands, stretch them into 13 x 2 inch loaves. Place them 3 inches apart. Pat each one smooth.
- Bake for about 35 minutes until the loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top. Rotate the pan halfway through the baking time.
- Remove from baking sheet and place it on wire rack for 10 minutes to cool
- Lower oven temperature by 325 dF
- Use a wide metal spatula and transfer the 2 loaves to the cutting board. with a serrated knife, cut each loaf diagonally into 3/8 inch thick slices.
- Lay the slices about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet, cut-side up, and return to the oven.
- Bake, turning over each cookie halfway through baking, until crisp and golden brown on both sides – about 15 minutes.
- Transfer biscottis to wire rack and cool completely before storing in air-tight container.
They can be kept for up to 2 weeks!