SWEETTABLESCAPES has been on a “Biscotti- kick” lately; not only do these twice-baked Italian treats satisfy everyone’s need for crunch (and by everyone I mean especially my husband who can easily down half a batch in a few hours…) but they freeze beautifully and can be stocked so you always have them on hand (that’s if you manage to freeze them before your husband has descended upon them!!!)
They come in many flavors and can include many different nuts. We made some chocolate ones here and today we tried a recipe from one of our favorite books: Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett.
ORANGE-NUT BISCOTTI: (don’t hesitate to double the recipe – that’s what we did- because these will go fast!!)
5 TBsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
Generous 1 TBsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp finely minced peeled fresh ginger root, optional
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp Flowers of Sicily extract, or substitute 3/4 tsp each vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon extract
2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plsu more if needed
1 cup coarsely chopped slivered almonds or pistachio nuts, or a combination (we used whole almonds)
1/3 finely chopped candied orange peel (didn’t have, skipped it!)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice, plus more if needed.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven; Preheat to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the butter and sugar until blended.
Vigorously stir in the egg and yolks, zest, ginger (if using), baking powder, salt and extract(s) until well blended.
Stir in flour, nuts, candied peel and 1/3 cup orange juice until smoothly incorporated. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, stir in another TBsp or two of OJ. If the dough is sticky or soft, let stand to firm up for 5 minutes. Then work in up to 3 TBsp more flour to stiffen it slightly.
Divide the dough in half. With lightly oiled hands and working on the parchment-lined baking sheet, shape each half into a 3 by 10-inch, evenly thick loaf. Space the loaves as far apart as possible.
Bake (middle rack) for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside until completely cooled, at least 45 minutes.
Reheat the oven to 325F.
On a cutting board, cut each loaf on a slight diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices using a large serrated knife or large sharp chefs’ knife.
Lay the slices flat, slightly separated, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
Bake the slices until toasted and faintly tinged with brown, about 10 minutes. Gently turn over and repeat. transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.
Store these, airtight for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.