18 March 2010

Lemon & Almond Biscotti

Ignoring the fact that I'm posting about something sweet twice in a row (man, those muffins were good), I really love biscotti and made some tonight, so I thought I might as well update the blog as well. Biscotti, or "biscuits" in Italian (it apparently also means "twice baked"), is a wonderful hard cookie/biscuit/cracker that goes great with a cup of strong espresso or even a glass of wine. You bake a sort of loaf of the "bread" first, then divide it into smaller pieces and bake those for some additional time to create the actual cookies. This recipe includes nuts, lemon zest, and a white chocolate shell. Heavenly - and simple to make.

The current leader in the most recent poll is Italian food, so here you go!

Lemon & Almond Biscotti

2 cups unbleached AP flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
zest of 3 medium lemons
3/4 cup almonds, blanched or roasted
12 oz white chocolate chips

Turn the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a different large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until very pale, about 2 minutes. Grate in the lemon zest and slowly add the flour mixture while beating. Stir in the almonds and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and make two 3x9 inch "loaves" on the baking sheet. If too sticky, use wet hands. Make sure the dough has a little room to grow; don't place the loaves too close together. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.

Once finished, remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Next, using a serrated knife, cut the loaves into roughly 1-inch-thick slices and return to the baking sheet, cut side up. Bake an additional 25 minutes, or until golden.

Let the biscotti cool completely. Create a double boiler by barely simmering water in a pot and placing a heatproof (metal or glass) bowl over the pot - just make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Add the chocolate chips and stir until completely melted. Remove from the heat, and dip one end of each biscotti in the chocolate. Place on a cooling rack until chocolate has hardened.

These cookies will last you at least a week in an airtight container.

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