Adapted from Joy of Cooking
Every year we make several Christmas giveaways—food treats to bring joy to our friends. It really started to get serious almost 30 years ago when we moved a house with orange, lemon and grapefruit trees. Since then, we moved across the street to a house without fruit trees, but I found that I could still beg yard fruit from my neighbors.
Every year, in addition to my Christmas marmalade, we have added items to our gifts: rum balls, biscotti and finally peppermint bark. This year I decided to make some new variations—triple ginger and this one, a spiced almond biscotti.
Note: I had actually made two batches of biscotti—about 100 biscuits—but after they were distributed to friends, I found that I did not have any left over for my own family. There was no solution, but to make another 2 batches.
Karl’s Spiced Almond Biscotti
1½ cups whole almonds, dry roasted, skins on
4 cups flour, AP
1 cup granulated white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder, aluminum free
2½ Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. cloves, ground
½ tsp. Kosher salt
7 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. almond extract
1. Coarsely chop the nuts and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, sift together 3½ cups of flour, sugars, baking powder, spices, and salt.
Tip: I resift the dry ingredients several times to get a good mix. The brown sugar does not actually sift well, so I whisk it in after everything else is thoroughly mixed.
Note: Hold back half a cup of the flour and work it in as you knead the dough. This insures that all of the flour is moistened as you mix the ingredients.
3. Mix the nuts into the flour
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and extracts.
5. Add the egg mixture to the flour and stir until a dough forms.
6.Turn the dough out onto a clean smooth surface and knead the dough 10-15 times to make sure all of the dry flour is mixed in.
7. Divide the dough in quarters and roll each lump into a ball.
8. Pre heat the oven to 300º F.
9. Lightly flour the board and roll each piece of dough into a log 14 inches long and about 1½ inches thick.
10. Transfer 2 logs to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
11. Press the logs flat so that each is about half an inch thick and 2½ inches wide.
Tip: Lightly sprits each log with water to moisten any dry flour.
Note: Repeat with the remaining three logs of dough.
12. Bake each pan for about 35 minutes, or until the logs are firm to the touch and just starting to form cracks on the surface.
Tip: The logs will spread and expand during baking.
Note: Half way through the baking time turn the trays around. I bake two trays at the same time and I switch baking racks as well, when I rotate the trays.
13. Remove the logs from oven and let them cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.
14. Transfer each logs to a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, cut the logs on a step diagonal into half inch slices.
Tip: I find it useful to make my first cut in the middle of the log and to cut each half in the same direction. I am right handed, so it is easiest for me to cut from left to right, pulling towards me. By supporting the near edge with my thumb I prevent the tip of each slice from breaking off as I am cutting. Flipping the second half of the log around allows you to keep cutting in the same direction.
15. Place the slices of biscotti on the baking sheet and bake, still at 300º F, for about 10-15 minutes
16. Turn slices over, and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until firm to the touch.
Tip: The longer you bake the biscotti the more crisp and crunchy they will be, but you do not want them to be rock hard. The biscotti will harden further as they dry out, so do not overcook them.
17. Cool them slightly on a wire rack and serve with tea or coffee