Saturday, January 8, 2011
Orange and Toasted Almond Biscotti.
An important quality in most baked goods I choose to make is that they're good keepers. Because unless I demand my family (and myself) eat about 6 cookies each or a quarter of a cake, there's just no way things get eaten within a few days. This is part of why I make biscotti so often. The other part is just because I adore the process of creating them - you make the dough, you form it into logs, bake it, slice it, bake again. It takes decidedly more effort and time than a drop or bar cookie but I don't mind one bit. (In fact, I find the process rather soothing but I used to get made fun of a lot for wanting to do the jobs in restaurants and bakeries that no one else wanted to do because I found them to be "soothing.") Not to mention I'm addicted to coffee and tea and biscotti are THE perfect dunking accompaniment.
Anyway, if you happen to have a few oranges lying around the house that need using up before they get too wrinkly and dry (something that occurs often in my house this time of year), and a handful of sliced almonds, you can create this addictive and unique biscotti yourself. Changes I made to the recipe were to omit the rosemary, as well as the egg wash and sugar on top before baking, but I'm guessing some people might want to omit the cornmeal as well or at least use finely ground cornmeal. I used coarse cornmeal as called for and I looooved it, absolutely loved the nubby texture it added, but feel free to substitute finely ground cornmeal or just add another 1/3 cup all-purpose (or whole wheat!) flour. These are tender (from a few tablespoons of nutty browned butter no less), just slightly sweet, and perhaps what makes them so addictive is their cracker-like quality because I can't stop myself from eating at least 2 at a time. The original recipe says to bake this in one log, but I divided mine into two in order to get more, smaller biscotti.
In a few hours I'll be on a plane to North Carolina to stay with my beloved and some of my most favorite people in the world for 8 days. See you in mid-January :)
Orange and Toasted Almond Biscotti
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it starts to foam, turn brown and smell slightly nutty, about 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the orange zest and let cool slightly.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. After the butter mixture has cooled, stir in the eggs and extract, then pour over the dry ingredients, stirring until almost completely mixed, then add in the almonds.
Form the dough into 2 (or just one, if you prefer) logs, each about 13" long on the baking sheet. Bake until they're golden brown on top and firm when you press the center, about 20 to 30 minutes. Let them cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board to thinly slice with a serrated knife. Place the slices back on the baking sheet and reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F. Bake for another hour to dry them out, turning the slices over after 30 minutes.
Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container. These would last for a few weeks at least, but even someone with as much willpower as myself can't help nabbing a couple every time I pass them on the counter :)