Thursday, December 20, 2012


These cookies are a Tuscan version of almond biscotti. The recipe comes from Chef Paolo Monti, who runs a great cooking school in Lucca, hence the native metric measurements.

250 g whole almonds (about 8¾ oz)
500 g flour (about 17½ oz)
400 g sugar (about 14 oz)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
grated zest of an orange
grated zest of a lemon
5 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Toast the almonds until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool before proceeding. (The nuts can be warm but not hot.)

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the orange and lemon zests and the cooled almonds.Mix to combine. Beat all but one of the eggs with the vanilla extract and add to the dry ingredients. Mix well until all of the dry ingredients have been moistened (the dough will turn a slightly darker shade of yellow).

4. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until the entire dough sticks together and becomes relatively smooth.

5. Roll the dough into a log and cut into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a log about 10 inches long. Transfer the logs to two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicon mats (two logs per sheet). Space the logs well apart.

6. Beat the remaining egg with about 1 tablespoon of water to create an egg wash. Paint the logs with the wash.

7. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. After a few minutes but while the logs are still hot, cut them on the bias into ¾-inch slices. Place the slices back on the hot baking sheets to dry a little more. They should be crisp on the outside but still soft on the inside.

• Don't be surprised if the dough initially seems too dry to come together. Kneading will almost always do the trick. However, depending on certain conditions (such as the size of the eggs, the humidity, the type of flour, etc.), it may be that your dough is too dry. In that case, add a little more beaten egg.

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