Biscotti is the perfect complement to that hot cup of coffee or warm cocoa on a cold winter day. It isn't difficult to make, but does take a little time. Honestly, though, it’s worth the effort when you’re sitting by the fire with your favorite book, savoring every delicate morsel as it melts generously in your mouth. Yum! So, let’s get started. The first thing you’ll need to do is gather all your ingredients and utensils.
First, your utensils:
Baking pan (at least 15 inches long)
Parchment paper (you can grease the pan instead, but the paper is WAY easier)
2 medium mixing bowls
Measuring cups and spoons (cup, 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, tablespon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, 1/8 teaspoon)
Whisk or blender
Now for the tasty stuff: (in parentheses are some ideas for variations)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (salted works too and so does margarine)
1/4 cup sugar (I tried brown sugar once, it changes the flavor a little and makes it darker)
1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw (you can use Splenda or just another 1/4 cup sugar, if you prefer)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (almond and amaretto are a nice combo)
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur (or almond extract)
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (you can replace the whole wheat for plain flour if you like)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or 1/4 cup each flour and cocoa powder to make chocolate biscotti)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coarsely ground almonds (run sliced ones through your blender. Other types of nuts are tasty too)
1 cup dark chocolate, broken into very small pieces (or mini chocolate chips, or more nuts if you’d rather)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In one bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts/liqueur.
In another bowl, combine flour(s), baking powder and salt.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients in one of the bowls, then fold in the nuts and chocolate. (The dough is very stiff and sticky. Using butter or flour to reduce the stickiness makes it easier to work with.)
Roll dough into a log and place on parchment paper. Flatten into a 14-by-3-inch rectangle and 1 inch thick. Place paper and dough on pan (recipe in photograph is doubled)
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven, remove parchment paper and large cookie from pan and place on cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes. Place a new sheet of paper on pan. Leave oven on.
Move paper and dough to counter and cut a thin slice from each end (the short, 3-inch ends) with the serrated knife (Use light pressure and small “sawing” strokes. The cookies are very fragile and will fall apart if you use a heavy hand.)
Transfer each 3-by-1-by-1-inch cookie to pan with the cut sides facing up/down. (Again, cookies are fragile, so you have to be gentle. Using a dull knife or something similar to slide under the cookie, as in the photograph, is helpful during the transfer)
Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, turn cookies over, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door to allow the cookies to cool completely.
This allows cookies to become a little drier so they will keep longer. Once they are cooled, you can dip them in melted chocolate, as I did in the top photograph, and drizzle with more chocolate, or dip in sprinkles. They make a nice gift and keep well.