I have met many biscotti in my life that I didn’t get along with because they tasted like cardboard. I don’t like them too sweet either, or covered in chocolate, or filled with dried fruit and citrus rind. I’m not sure what made me try this recipe in the first place, considering how I felt about this famous cookie at the time, but I did and it transformed my opinion. I got the original recipe from a favorite cookbook “The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook” by Jack Bishop which I highly recommend. His recipe calls for eggs plus a couple of egg yolks to add richness to the cookies. While I am a fan of eggs I am not a fan of a strong yolk flavor*. So over time I adapted this recipe to better suit my own preference. I am offering you my version of this classic dipping cookie.
1 cup whole almonds
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and lightly toast them (about 8 minutes). Set them aside to cool but don’t turn off the oven. Cut parchment paper to the size of a large baking sheet.
In the bowl of your stand mixer blend the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl beat 3 of the eggs with the vanilla extract. With the mixer on med-low speed add the eggs to the flour in a steady stream and keep the mixer going until the flour and eggs have been completely incorporated.
Roughly chop the almonds (I like to chop them in half so the chunks are fairly big but you can chop them a little smaller if you like).
The dough is very sticky! Remove it from the bowl of the mixer onto a floured pastry board or your counter – you will need a pastry scraper to help you knead the dough gently (just until it’s smooth). You will need to add more flour as you go along and may even need to rinse your hands off once or twice.
Gently knead the almonds into the dough.
Cut the ball of dough into two pieces. One at a time, transfer each one to the parchment paper covered baking sheet and roll them out until they’re about 12″ long and flatten out so that they’re about 3″ wide.
Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and add a small splash of water. Brush the egg wash on the outside of the dough, including the sides.
Bake in the oven (on a middle rack) for 30 minutes.
Remove the cookie loaves from the oven and turn the oven down to 325 degrees. Let the loaves cool for a few minutes (allowing the oven to reduce in temperature as well) and then cut them up on the diagonal in approximately 1″ wide pieces.
Turn them on their sides and return to the oven for ten more minutes. If you live in a damp climate, as I do, I recommend turning your oven off after ten minutes but let the cookies completely cool down inside the oven. The texture of these cookies is definitely hard and crisp enough to encourage dipping, but if your air is generally a little damp then the cookies may not achieve as satisfying a dryness as is desired. When they’ve completely cooled store them in an air-tight container.
Recipe Notes: I think the egg wash is important here, but I hate that one recipe of these only uses about half of the beaten egg. So if you want to be extra thrifty, I suggest doing a double batch at a time. Each recipe makes about 24 biscotti (depending on how thickly you cut them) so if 48 biscotti sounds extreme- freeze half of them for later or share them with others! If you’re out of vanilla extract (as I am right now!) you can scrape some vanilla bean seeds into the eggs and let them sit for ten or fifteen minutes.
*So unless I get one of my friends who are excellent cooks to do a hollandaise sauce recipe for Stitch and Boots, there won’t be one. I can’t stand any sauce made up primarily of egg yolks. Mrs. Carlton? Mrs. Evich? Mrs. Lagarde? Any of you up for the challenge?