Post 7 of 12 in my 12 Days of Christmas Recipes Series – Almond Orange Biscotti
This recipe marks my first attempt at making biscotti, and I think it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself! Each stick of biscotti turned out slightly larger than I intended, but I did manage to achieve the coveted curved edge. Not to mention – the flavor and texture are great!
Whether or not “real Italian biscotti” uses butter (or any fat) seems to be a point of contention. I researched several recipes before deciding to use this one from Epicurious as a guide. I found several recipes from “so and so’s Italian grandmother” that did include butter, so I figured it would be safe to include butter. If you wanted to, you could probably get by with using vegetable (or a very lightly-flavored olive) oil in place of the butter, or perhaps trade some of it for another egg. But mine turned out alright, and I’m not complaining. Here’s the recipe I used:
To make approximately 25 large biscotti, you will need:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (could substitute a portion for wheat flour, I suspect), plus more for dusting your work surface
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tbs butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- Zest of 2 oranges
- 2 tbs freshly-squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbs orange liqueur or 1 tsp orange extract
- (optional) 4 ounces of chocolate for piping
Begin by mixing the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar (preferably with an electric mixer).
Add the eggs, and beat until fluffy. Add the almonds, orange juice, zest, and extract or liqueur. Slowly add in the flour mixture; mix until well blended.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment (or wax) paper. Dust lightly with flour. Pour the dough out onto this cookie sheet (the dough should be soft and sticky). Shape it into a rectangle approximately 12 inches by 5 inches with a thickness of .50 – .75 inches. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up (don’t skip this step!).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove dough from the freezer. The dough should be firm and much easier to work with now. Flip the dough upside down on a new cookie sheet, and peel off the parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 rectangles; try to shape them as well as you can, because this will affect the final shape of your biscotti. (For smaller biscotti, you can divide the dough into 3 (more narrow) rectangles.) Make sure there is at least 2 inches of space between the logs.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden and firm to the touch. Cool completely before continuing to the next step.
To me, this was the most challenging part of making biscotti, because I don’t have a super sharp serrated bread knife. I started out using a less-than-sharp bread knife, and had trouble with the dough tearing and crumbling. I switched to my super sharp chef’s knife, and that helped, although a nicer bread knife would be ideal.
Anyway – slice the loaf (at a slight angle) into approximately .75-inch sticks of biscotti.
Place the cut sticks of biscotti back onto your baking sheet, and bake at 325 for an additional 25-30 minutes (or until they are golden, like the above photo). Turn them halfway through so that both sides “toast.” If you don’t want to add the chocolate drizzle, then congratulations! You’re finished here. However, if you’re like me and can’t leave well enough alone, continue on to the next step.
First, make sure the biscotti has cooled entirely.
This is my method for piping chocolate when it’s just a “quick and dirty” job. Add a few ounces (no more) to a ziplock bag.
Microwave on 50% power in 20-second intervals until the chocolate has melted. Snip a teeny bit off of the corner, and..
Voila! A no-mess piping bag.
You can add as much or as little chocolate as you like. I ended up making some with just semi-sweet chocolate and some with both white and semi-sweet chocolate.
The great thing about biscotti is that it will keep for quite a long time. I would say 1-2 weeks if stored in an airtight container, so it’s perfect to make ahead of time for big occasions. It’s also perfect for gift-giving this holiday season!
Hope you enjoy!
Day 2: Cinnamon Palmiers
Day 3: Cranberry Relish
Day 4: Chewy Spicy Ginger Cookies
Day 5: Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies
Day 7: Almond Orange Biscotti