I can’t believe there are zero posts about biscotti on my site. Well, now there is finally one, but more than two years went by without any biscotti posts. I should explain that biscotti are kind of like scones to me. I’ve admitted that I try almost every scone recipe I ever see, four of which I’ve posted on this site, and I have the same issue with biscotti recipes although I’ve neglected to mention them. The difference is that I seem to encounter more failures with biscotti. I’ve tried recipes that resulted in cookies that were too large and unwieldy, or the add-ins were too difficult to slice through and the cookies were ugly, or the cookies didn’t bake evenly and were too dark on one side. I’ve learned that the initially baked dough logs shouldn’t be too large. Two to three inches wide seems to work best. Then, once the individual cookies are cut, they should be flipped at the half-way point in their baking time. That way, the cookies don’t brown too much on one side and not enough on the other. I’ve also read that some people have success with baking the cookies on their edges rather than flat on a cut side, but I haven’t tried that. Regarding the slicing issue, I now let the dough cool a little longer after the first baking and before slicing, and I always use a serrated knife. With these lessons in mind, I tried a biscotti recipe I’d seen in the December 2009 issue of Living, and these turned out great.
Whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and baking powder were sifted together and set aside. Butter was mixed with sugar, honey, lemon zest, and salt, and three eggs were added one at a time. Nice, big measures, one whole tablespoon each, of vanilla and almond extract were added, and that’s why these biscotti smelled so amazing as they baked. Then, the flour mixture was added followed by almonds. I used a mix of whole almonds and sliced almonds because I was in pantry-clearing mode. The dough was wrapped in plastic and chilled for an hour. It was then divided in half, formed into two logs, of appropriate size of course, the logs were placed on a silpat-lined baking sheet, and they were chilled for 30 minutes. The first baking was at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes. Then, the dough logs were allowed to cool enough to handle before they were cut on the bias into cookies. I placed the cut cookies on two baking sheets, and they were baked this time at 300 degrees F for 35 minutes. After about 18 minutes, I flipped each cookie for even browning.
The extracts, lemon zest, almonds, and honey worked together to make these biscotti incredibly fragrant and delicious. They were packed into an airtight container, and each time I opened it, I was struck by how great these cookies smelled. Of course, they were enjoyed dipped in coffee or cappuccino, and I liked them with tea as well. They were crunchy as can be and a definite success in my hit-or-miss history of biscotti making.