Friday, December 9, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas, #5: Almond-Orange Biscotti

I often like making two to three kinds of biscotti during the holidays. One, because I do have a soft spot for biscotti. Two, they keep very well so that I can make them ahead of time and know that they'll still taste great days later.

Day Five of my Twelve Days of Christmas Treats: Almond-Orange Biscotti.

xmas cookies_07

The base of this biscotti uses the same olive oil dough as the Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti. You can make it with butter, which will make for a richer tasting biscotti, but sometimes I like using olive oil for a lighter texture and a fruitier flavour.

Frankly, it's a solid dough base to play around with your own flavour combination. Almond and aniseed, a classic combination. Ginger. Almond and cherries. Have fun with it!

Almond-Orange Biscotti
Makes about 2 to 3 dozen

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 cup blanched almonds
Zest of 1 orange

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts and zest, then beat in the eggs. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg, if using, and gradually stir into the egg mixture. Add the almonds, mixing until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Form two logs on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. The dough will be very sticky, so flour the sheets with some flour and wet your hands with cool water to handle the dough more easily.

Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown and firm.

Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes before cutting the logs on the diagonal into 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick slices. Lay on their sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 12 to 15 minutes on each side, or until dry. Cool completely.

For a finishing touch, you can dip or drizzle biscotti with melted dark chocolate.


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