Well, another holiday season came and went. As with the past 3 years, the office Christmas party season saw me bake biscotti for my fellow unsuspecting cube dwellers.
This year’s tweak:
I honey roasted the almonds and substituted the vanilla extract with Grand Marnier. I figured the boost of orange would set off the sweetened almonds. Happily the small amount of added alcohol didn’t wreak havoc with the acid/base balance of the recipe.
This biscotti recipe is ridiculously easy. It uses a cake-based batter that is baked twice. The batter is first baked into log like shapes and then sliced into long finger-like cookies. The finger-like cookies are then toasted and dried.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (aka 1 stick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or Grand Marnier)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt (approximately 1/4 tsp)
- zest of 1 orange (none of that white pithy stuff please)
Crunchy Stuff that makes biscotti the wonderful confection it is
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped almonds (I usually only halve mine)
- Soften the stick of butter at room temperature. Do NOT let it melt or the batter will run when it is baked
- Roast the almonds in the oven until golden. If you are very enterprising, drizzle with honey before roasting
- Cover a half sheet pan with a single layer of parchment paper. Alternatively, a large cookie sheet will work as well
- Zest one orange. You should produce approximately 1.5-2 tbsp of zest.
I usually cheat and place my butter on a plate on the oven after roasting the almonds. The residual heat softens the butter pretty quickly.
- Pre-heat an oven to 375Â°F. (Please use an oven thermometer. You really can’t trust an oven.)
- Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl that is large enough to hold all the ingredients. Successful creaming will result in an overall lightening of the colour of the butter.
- Add eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly after each. The mixture will moisten significantly
- Add the selected flavouring (vanilla or Grand Marnier) and orange zest
- Sift together all the dry ingredients onto a flexible cutting mat
- Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients gradually, mixing carefully
- Mix in chopped almonds
- Spread in two loaf-like shapes (logs) onto the half sheet pan. Don’t spread too close to the edge. The batter will spread somewhat. The logs should be 4 inches wide, a little more than 1 inch high, and 8-10 inches long
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and delicious
- Remove logs from the half sheet pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack
- Cut into 1 inch slices using a serrated knife
- Re-heat oven to 375Â°F
- Arrange slices back onto the half sheet pan, allowing for space between
- Bake slices another 5 minutes to toast
- Remove slices from the half sheet pan and place onto wired racks. Let dry completely before storing or serving