Sunday, December 11, 2016

Almonds Take This Cookie To Crunchy Town

Often when a recipe calls for toasting the almonds before using them I just ignore it. Although the toasting process gives the almonds a delicious flavor, in a lot of recipes you can barely tell the difference. Not so in this biscotti recipe. The toasting makes all the difference, both in flavor and in the crunchiness of the nuts in the finished cookie.

You start with a cup of toasted almonds. I spread the nuts on a cookie sheet with space between the nuts, bake them at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes, then let them cool. They sort of pop and crackle when they are cooling.

The dough itself is unusual because you add the whole almonds to the flour mixture and so the nuts get mixed in at the same time...which is a bit hard on the mixer to tell the truth. You can also stir the dry ingredients in with a spoon. Just be sure to keep stirring until a cohesive dough forms.

This recipe is one I got from Jana, still very much missed niece-in-law, whom we lost to ovarian cancer over a decade ago. The cookies are fully flavored with almonds being the main flavor note. They are light and crunchy and delicious as is, or dunked into coffee or hot chocolate. She gave us some at Christmas one year so it seems appropriate to make them for Christmas this year. Give them a try. They are easy to make and when you pat the dough into logs you even get to play with your food and no one minds. Here are what the baked logs/loaves look like.

These are twice baked cookies. First you bake these loaves, then you slice the loaves and put the slices on cookie sheets and bake them some more. The actual time you need to work is short, but because you are baking these twice, the baking time is longer.

I tried baking two sheets at the same time for the second bake, but I forgot to switch the pans around halfway through the baking time (twirling them front to back and putting the pans from the top rack down and the ones from the lower rack up). The result was that the bottom sheet had dark brown bottoms. They taste OK but I like the paler ones better.

These make great gifts!

Jana's Almond Biscotti
makes about 3 dozen

1 cup whole almonds
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Toast the almonds 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven. Let cool.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs, adding eggs one at a time and beating well after each addition. Add almond extract with the last egg. Scrape sides and beater(s) as needed.
In another bowl stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and whole, toasted, nuts. Add this dry mixture to the egg mixture on low speed. Let mixer combine them until dough forms.

On a greased 12" x 15" baking sheet, use well-floured hands to pat dough into 2 flat loaves, about 3/4" thick.

Bake in 350 degree F. oven about 20 minutes, until browned at edges and springy to the touch. Let the loaves cool on the sheet until cool, then cut on the diagonal into long 1/2" slices.

Arrange slices on the baking sheet close together with a cut side down. Return baking sheet to oven and bake at 350 degrees F. until cookies are brown, 15-18 minutes longer.

Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely. Serve or store airtight. These can be frozen for 3-6 months, too.

1 comment :

  1. These look delicious. I can't resist a crunchy biscotti