ON THE STOVE: Orange Almond Biscotti

In lieu of a typical blog post, I have asked our blog master to use her executive decision making authority to allow me to include one of my favorite recipes.  These cookies are easy to make, and even easier to eat.  I recommend serving them alongside an espresso or a good strong cup of coffee.

Ingredients:
2          cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1          teaspoon baking powder
1/4       teaspoon table salt
4          tablespoons unsalted butter
1          cup granulated white sugar
2          large eggs
1/2       teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4       teaspoon almond extract
3/4       cup of whole almonds with skins.  They need to be toasted, then cooled, and then coarsely chopped toasted, cooled, and chopped coarse
1          2 tablespoons fresh orange zest

Before you begin, move your oven rack to the middle position and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl.  Next, beat the butter and sugar together until it is light and smooth.  This can be done either in a Kitchen-Aid style stand mixer or with a hand mixer.  To the butter and sugar add one egg and beat to combine.  When the first egg is incorporated, add the second egg and incorporate.  Next, add the vanilla and almond extracts, mix, and then add the chopped almonds and the orange zest.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Mix until the dough is just combined.  Lightly oil/butter a cookie sheet.  Dust your hands with flour and then remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 2 equal portions.  Keep your hands floured, work quickly and stretch each portion of dough into a log shape about 13 inches long and 2 inches wide.  Place both logs on a lightly oiled about 3 inches apart.  Smooth each log by gently patting it.  Bake the cookies for about 17 minutes, then turn the pan and continuing baking until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 17-18 more minutes.  Remove the logs from the oven and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes.  In the meantime lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Using a serrated knife, cut each log diagonally into 3/8-inch slices.  Place the slices back on to the cookie sheet and return them to the oven.  Bake the cookies for about 7 minutes and then remove them from the oven, flip each cookie over, and then return to the oven for another 8 minutes removing the cookies when they are crisp and golden brown on both sides.  Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

A nice addition, although not necessary, is to melt some of your favorite chocolate and then dip the cookies in the melted chocolate.  Return them to the rack to cool.

Brendon P. Levesque