This is a childhood favorite. Unbeknownst to me, I took my Italian grandmother’s biscotti for granted as a child. She made it often, and it was delicious! Later in life however, she no longer lived nearby, and she was no longer healthy enough to be slaving in the kitchen.
Store-bought biscotti is just awful in comparison, by the way.
I enjoy cooking, of course, but I’ve never been that interested in baking. I like to improvise as I go along, after all, and baking has little room for doing so. However, I recently was lucky enough to obtain a KitchenAid stand mixer, so I decided to bite the bullet and get my hands dirty.
I didn’t even have to think about what I wanted to make first: my grandmother’s biscotti, no doubt about it. I was driven to accomplish this task, no matter the sacrifice. Even if I had to fly to Florida and sift through everything in my grandmother’s residence to find the recipe, spend days in the kitchen covered in flour from head to toe with nothing but failures in the oven to show for it, mark my words I would prevail.
In reality, I texted my nearby aunt in case she had the recipe, and she texted me back with a picture of it. Looking over the recipe, it seemed like some simple baking. So that was easy. Onward and upward to the kitchen, now.
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 c coarsely chopped almonds
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- I put a heaping 1/2 c scoop of almonds into my little food processor to coarsely chop them.
- Grease & flour a baking sheet (around 11 x 16 is fine), and shake off excess or you can use parchment paper.
- In mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Make a well in the center.
- Add remaining ingredients to the well. Mix to form a (dry) dough. You can use the stand mixer until ingredients are evenly mixed, then form into dough ball with hands. Divide dough in half.
- On a lightly floured surface, shape each half of dough into a flat-bottomed cylinder, 1″ high, 3 1/2″ wide, and 8″ long. Place each on baking sheet with 1″ of room on ends and 2″ on sides. Dough will not expand much.
- Bake on center rack for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly colored on top. Remove from oven and let cool slightly (At this point, they smell like biscotti! I was very excited.).
- Cut cylinders on the diagonal into 3/4″-thick slices. Carefully place slices back onto baking sheet, cut sides down. Biscotti means twice baked, so put that noise back in the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes, until sides are golden and center is no longer raw. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. The biscotti should be somewhat hard and crunchy.
Yield: about 20 biscotti
You can add the zest of one orange with the wet ingredients if you like. It’s a common addition, but since my grandmother didn’t use it, neither did I.
Also, this is traditional biscotti. It’s going to be hard, so I advise dunking it in coffee or wine like it’s meant to be. Personally, I don’t mind eating it dry, but it isn’t easy.
I’m definitely going to be making a lot of this now that I know how easy it is. I might even experiment with different varieties.
What sort of flavor varieties of biscotti do you enjoy?