Well, yesterday, I finally started feeling a little better. I had a little bit more energy so to celebrate I did 2 loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom and cooked dinner. Ahhh...the house has missed me. And then today it was back to school. I think I shall from now on refer to last week as the spring break that wasn't! But I am glad to be back at school, not for any noble reasons, but just because this begins the last nine weeks! It's all downhill from here! Really though, this last nine weeks is going to be so stressful and crazy, it will be pure h-e-double-l on me (obscure Tammy Wynette reference to those of you in the know). But enough whining, on to the biscotti.
I love biscotti. It is one of my favorite dessert type things to cook. It makes a great light ending to any dinner, and it's the perfect snack for after school, with a cup of tea (makes you feel all fancy and stuff). And as usual, never content with what I know or have tried, I am always trying new biscotti recipes. So, when I saw this one in Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the World, I had to try it.
Makes 3-4 dozen
1 cup almonds or hazelnuts
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (I used vanilla)
Zest of 1 orange (I used a tangerine)
1 to 2 tablespoons of milk
Preheat oven to 375. Toast nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, until they start to color and they start to give off a toasted fragrance (about 3 to 4 minutes).
Combine the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder in a food processor; pulse to blend the ingredients. Add eggs, vanilla, and zest. Process until it forms a dough ball. Be sure and give this plenty of time, I didn't and thought it was too dry and added the milk, and then I ended up with very wet dough. Add the nuts and pulse a few more times, you don't want to the nuts pulverized, just chopped lightly.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 2-inch-wide log.
Bake until golden about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 250. When the loaves are cool enough to handle, cut with a serrated knife on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices. Put the slices back on the cookie sheet and back into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway through. Cool on wire racks.
These were very good. Very fresh tasting. The texture was perfect, not to crisp, but not soft and chewy. I think it was the second baking at 250. I usually don't lower the temperature when I do the second baking and I think it makes a difference. Also, these have no butter! Some biscotti call for butter and some (especially those trying to be low fat) don't. These really didn't need the butter, I didn't miss it at all. This is a great basic recipe, easy to change up and modify. I think I might try them with lemon zest and pine nuts!