Bake up a batch of these Italian cookies, package them in a pretty tin, and you have a perfect hostess gift. The vivid almond flavor comes from 2 tablespoons of pure almond extract.
Create biscotti variations as you like by trying different dried fruits and experimenting with other nuts. Enjoy!
(1/2 stick) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
grated zest of 1 lemon
pure almond extract
less 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (plus extra for handling the dough)
roughly chopped dried tart cherries
diced (1/4-inch) dried apricots (8 to 10)
slivered almonds (roughly chopped)
Place the butter, sugar, zest, and almond extract in the bowl of a mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and egg white, and combine at low speed.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the dry mixture. When just barely combined, add the dried fruits and nuts, and mix until blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator until it's no longer sticky, 30 to 60 minutes.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 315 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat and set aside.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut the dough in half. Form each piece into a flattish log, roughly 11 x 4 inches. Arrange the dough halves on the prepared pan at least 3 inches apart. Bake until the dough turns a pale golden color, about 30 minutes. Do not turn off the oven.
Transfer the baking tray to a wire rack and allow to cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. With a serrated knife, slice the logs diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet and cook an additional 20 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
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