[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]
Throughout a current try to arrange the Severe Eats pantry, I stumbled upon the leftovers from Daniel’s experiments with blanched almonds.
They had been nearing the top of their shelf life, so I made a decision to avoid wasting them with a batch of almond-anise biscotti. It is perhaps my all-time favourite cookie: easy, lean, comparatively low in sugar, and simply begging for a dunk in a cup of sturdy espresso. Positive, biscotti historically make use of entire, un-blanched almonds, so as to make the most of their flavorful skins, however within the title of thrift, nearly something goes.
However that is not to say I flout custom altogether.
As with old-school Italian recipes, my cookies do not comprise any fats other than what’s discovered within the almonds themselves and within the eggs that bind the dough. This retains the biscotti sturdy and dry, giving them an epic shelf life and the capability to absorb all the things from espresso to Vin Santo with out crumbling aside.
My favourite almond biscotti are spiked with a little bit anise—not a lot that they develop into a licorice-fest, however sufficient so as to add a touch of intrigue and elevate the almond aroma.
Due to their sprinkle-like form, anise seeds have a approach of remaining reasonably distinct within the dough, in order that its taste appears plain till an entire seed finds its approach in between your tooth. So, to get a greater taste within the dough, I like to provide the seeds a tough chop.
The damaged items leach a few of their important oil into the dough, gently flavoring it all through as a substitute of supplying you with remoted bites of anise depth. It is a delicate transfer, however it shifts the biscotti from “almond, plus generally anise” to actually almond-anise.
Likewise, I give the entire toasted almonds a tough chop. As with chopped chocolate in my chocolate chip cookies, chopping almonds produces a mixture of chunks, shards, and fantastic, mealy bits, including variable taste and texture to the dough. Once more, entire almonds are excellent for the event, however blanched will do the trick, and create a extra delicate taste and look general.
With the mix-ins ready, all it’s important to do is toss all of the substances right into a bowl and mix them to kind a tender dough. I take advantage of a stand mixer for comfort, however hand-mixing works simply as effectively.
When the dough comes collectively, I scrape it onto a calmly floured floor and form it right into a tough log, brief sufficient to be simply transferred to a baking sheet.
As soon as the dough is positioned on a parchment-lined half-sheet pan, I proceed rolling the log till it meets the total size of the pan. From there, I gently pat it out till it is about 4 inches huge and half an inch thick.
The scale right here aren’t important to comply with—biscotti may be shaped to only about any dimension—however the dimension and form will have an effect on baking time and yield. Should you choose mini biscotti, strive making two logs as a substitute. If you’d like longer, thinner items, strive a shorter, wider log. In both case, throw the recommended timetable from my recipe out the window, and use visible cues to information you as a substitute.
Nonetheless I’ve formed the dough, I at all times take a second to mud any extra flour off its floor, earlier than baking the log or logs till they’re puffed, agency, and simply barely beginning to brown across the edges.
I let the half-baked dough cool for about 5 minutes, then switch it to a reducing board, the place I let it cool 5 minutes extra. The preliminary cooling part ensures the recent dough will not break in half when lifted, and the second cooling part lets the biscotti develop sufficient construction to be sliced with ease, whereas avoiding the hardened crust that can kind when the dough has totally cooled.
As soon as the biscotti log is cool sufficient to deal with comfortably, however nonetheless reasonably heat, loosen it from the parchment, and slice it into half-inch items with a skinny, serrated knife. You possibly can learn extra in our evaluation of serrated knives, however this $16 Tojiro is what I’ve at dwelling. Thicker, heavier blades (particularly people who have dulled over time) can actually tear up the delicate dough, so having a light-weight blade will go additional than good approach for producing clear slices of biscotti.
I return the sliced biscotti to the oven and bake till they’re dry to the contact and really calmly browned (about 12 minutes at 350°F/180°C for half-inch-thick slices), then flip the slices over and proceed baking them on the opposite aspect.
The biscotti will likely be barely tender whereas scorching, crisping solely as they cool, so give them loads of time earlier than sneaking a chunk. As soon as cool, they’re able to get pleasure from, whether or not on their very own or dunked in your beverage of selection.
Or, you possibly can cave to look stress and dip them in tempered darkish chocolate. This flies within the face of my less-is-more biscotti philosophy, however I am helpless to disclaim its crowd-pleasing impact, particularly across the holidays.
Should you do go this route, make sure to brush the crumbs from each bit earlier than dipping, to maintain the chocolate as pristine as doable.
After the tempered chocolate has set, dipped biscotti may be saved in the very same approach because the plain selection: for as much as three months in an hermetic container at cool room temperature.
It is that phenomenal retaining high quality that makes biscotti so grand—an excellent possibility for giving as a present, transport, or retaining readily available for a mid-afternoon snack.
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