Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lenox Almond Biscotti

Ever since I first made these, they have been my go-to biscotti recipe. I love the texture -- a light sweetness that has a pleasant crunch of cornmeal to make it unique. I love the fact that these can be adapted every which way (I made them with chocolate chips and cranberries once, and dipped them in dark chocolate another time), and I love that they are distinctly home-made, compared to the hard, brittle things that Starbucks likes to call biscotti. Also, and perhaps most importantly, these are eminently givable and eminently lovable.

These were a TWD challenge a while back and some people had issues with them spreading too much. All I can tell you is that I followed the instructions pretty closely and have never had problems (Dorie says to make the dough into two logs, about 2x12 inches, and it has worked wonderfully for me). The only thing I really add to the recipe is to put the rack in the upper third of the oven and add about 5 minutes to the first baking (until the logs start turning golden and the edges look crispy). Oh, and I tone down the almond extract to 1 tsp instead of 1.5 -- I don't like a very strong almond smell. Also, it's really important to let these rest the full half hour between bakings; otherwise, they will crumble, even with the sharpest knife. When you make the cut, make it decisively (versus cutting in a sawing motion). Easy recipe, lovely results.

Lenox Almond Biscotti
from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From my Home to Yours

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3/4 cup sliced almonds, blanched or unblanched

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the cornmeal and whisk again to blend.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for 3 minutes, until very smooth. Add the eggs and continue to beat, scraping down the bowl as needed, for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light, smooth and creamy. Beat in the almond extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You'll have a soft, stick-to-your-fingers dough that will ball up around the paddle or beaters. Scrape down the paddle and bowl, toss in the almonds and mix just to blend.

Scrape half the dough onto one side of the baking sheet. Using your fingers and a rubber spatula or scraper, work the dough into a log about 12 inches long and 1 1¿2 inches wide. The log will be more rectangular than domed, and bumpy, rough and uneven. Form a second log with the remaining dough on the other side of the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the logs are lightly golden but still soft and springy to the touch. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and cool the logs on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.

If you turned off the oven, bring it back up to 350 degrees F.

Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the logs to a cutting board and, with a long serrated knife, trim the ends and cut the logs into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet — this time standing them up like a marching band — and slide the sheet back into the oven.

Bake the biscotti for another 15 minutes, or until they are golden and firm. Transfer them to racks and cool to room temperature.


The Food Librarian said...

Lovely biscotti! Merry Christmas! - mary the food librarian

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

Beautiful! I love the wrapping.

Merry Christmas!

Vera said...

Delicious biscotti! And beautiful presentation!

Merry Christmas, Irene! And Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely delicious biscotti!! I just finished my 3rd batch- almond, almond & cranberries, & hazelnut. It was an instant hit w/ families & friends... and the 1st batch simply was not enough. But I did have a spreading pattern w/ the dough during the 1st bake, as other bloggers stated, but u just accommodate.

Unknown said...

These look delicious! I'll have to include them in the care packages I send my friend serving in Afghanistan. Thanks for the recipe!

Julia said...

These look great! I love the packaging!