Vanilla almond biscotti

22 Jan

I seem to be obsessed with all things sweet, and I love spending a Sunday afternoon baking up a batch of cookies to enjoy with an afternoon cuppa (and to take to work the next day to show off my wares). Biscotti are a traditional Italian biscuit, stemming from a Latin word that means “twice-baked”, this double baking process helps keep the biscotti fresh for a very long time. You can use a variety of whole nuts and some dried fruits in them to give them unique flavours, although the traditional kind were only made with almonds.

Vanilla almond biscotti

Vanilla almond biscotti

Ingredients:

(Makes about 80 pieces)

2 cups plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup caster sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste / vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves or nutmeg
1 cup almonds*

How to:

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl. Add the caster sugar and mix together well. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and add the vanilla to the egg mixture. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, add the almonds and stir to combine into a smooth dough.

Flour your work surface well, keeping the flour handy, because you will probably need more than you think. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and knead until smooth, adding more flour to the surface and over the top of the mixture if it gets sticky.

Divide the dough in half and roll each portion into a log, about 20cm long. Flatten the logs slightly to create the classic oval biscotti shape.

Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. When it is ready, it should feel firm, but not rock hard.

Take the logs out of the oven and let them cool.

When cooled, use a serrated knife to cut into thin slices, about 3mm thick. Place the slices onto baking trays, lined with baking paper. I needed 3 large trays for this, and it’s ok to have the biscotti slices touching each other.

Bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until they feel crisp to the touch. Leave the slices to cool on the trays, before storing in an air-tight container.

Enjoy with coffee or tea (chai goes well with the vanilla flavour), or even a sweet dessert wine.

Variations:

Frangelico and hazelnut biscotti: substitute the vanilla for Frangelico, and the almonds for hazelnuts.

Christmas biscotti: Substitute the almonds for unsalted pistachios and add ½ cup dried cranberries.

Macadamia and white chocolate biscotti: Substitute the almonds for macadamias and add ½ cup white chocolate.

Notes:

* I recently found some delicious Coles brand ‘French vanilla almonds’ – almonds coated in a sweet vanilla toffee-like coating, in the deli section at Coles supermarkets. These taste especially good in this recipe. You could also try caramel or toffee almonds.

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One Response to “Vanilla almond biscotti”

  1. Nicolette Mewing July 24, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Reblogged this on Nicolette Mewing.

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