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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

homemade almond biscotti

If the title of this post intimidates you, don't fret! Making biscotti is actually very easy. It's like making cookies, and then baking them twice. The one thing that makes this process super easy is a silpat mat. It is excellent for baking when one is dealing with sticky dough. If you don't have a silpat mat or don't want to make the investment, no worries. You can just use parchment paper.

Almond Biscotti

1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 c all purpose flour
1/2 c whole almonds, ground in blender/food processor (not as fine as flour; leave them slightly coarse for some texture)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 orange; freshly zested (about 1 tablespoon orange zest)
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees; line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almonds, baking powder, salt & ground fennel. In another large bowl, beat eggs & sugar with electric mixer for about 3 minutes, until they are pale yellow in color and fluffy.  Zest your orange over the bowl, and then add in the almond extract. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture just until blended. The dough will be sticky.

Transfer the sticky dough to your prepared baking sheet. Drop two equally sized mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, side by side. Leave room for the dough to expand and rise as it bakes. Wet your hands with water and form the mounds into 11"X3" rectangles. Bake for 35 minutes, remove and cool 5 minutes. With bread knife, slice the rectangles into 1/2" thick biscotti, and then turn the individual biscotti onto it's side to continue baking. Bake another 25 minutes.

Random fun fact about biscotti, they originated way back in the day as a diet staple for Roman soldiers. The Roman women figured out that if you baked them twice, they would travel much farther and last much longer, so that's exactly what they did. Then they sent their men out with bags full of biscotti, hurrah! Who wouldn't fight better knowing they have a big ol' bag of homemade biscotti!

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