Published by Chronicle
Editor's Note: It's one thing to purchase biscotti from your favorite café or grocery store, but it's quite another to make your own. If you've never attempted to make this type of cookie, then this Almond Biscotti recipe is for you. These delightfully crunchy cookies will be the perfect complement to your favorite cup of coffee or tea for a mid-afternoon snack. This easy cookie recipe can be made year-round, and it will also be a unique addition to your holiday cookie platter. The recipe's author has also included a unique and fascinating story about Saint Francis, which follows the recipe's instructions.
These biscotti carry a subtle anise flavor from the addition of Italian anise-flavored liqueur. Hard cookies such as these are traditionally dunked into vin santo as they are eaten, but these particular biscotti are very light and good for eating alone. For dunking, good sweet Marsala can be substituted for vin santo.
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party
Recipe CourseDessert, Snack
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and TextureCrunchy, Light, Nutty, Spiced, Sweet
Type of DishCookie
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
- 1 whole large egg plus
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup anise-flavored liqueur
- Grated zest of ½ lemon
- 3 cups unbleached flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (5 ounces) blanched almonds
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment or grease it with butter.
In a bowl, combine the sugar and butter. Using an electric mixer, beat in the whole egg until blended, followed by the egg yolks, one at a time, until creamy and lightened in color. Stir in the liqueur and lemon zest. In another bowl, stir together the flour and the baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix just until blended and a dough consistency forms. Mix in the almonds.
Shape the dough into 2 loaves, each about 3 inches wide by ½ inch high. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake until the dough is expanded and firm, about 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and slide the loaves onto a work surface. Let them cool for a few minutes, then, using a serrated knife, cut each loaf into slices about ¾ inch thick. Place the slices on the baking sheet, cut side down.
Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake the biscotti until they are dry and lightly colored, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool completely. The biscotti will keep up to 2 months or so in airtight tins.
A Secret Visit
A Franciscan brother in Assisi recounted this story to me about Saint Francis: The saint adored almond biscotti. When he knew he was dying, he told his messengers to bring three things to him: a cloak, candles, and almond biscotti. A friend of Saint Francis, Lady Jacoba, made the best almond biscotti he had ever eaten, and it was his last wish to eat some. Church rules forbade women to enter a monastery, but hearing that her beloved friend was dreaming of her almond biscotti as he lay dying, she disguised herself as a man and made her way to his deathbed with the cookies.
2002 Julia della Croce