Biscotti, which means 'twice baked' are a traditional Italian hard cookie. They are made to be served with (and dipped in!) sweet, desert wine, or a good, strong coffee.
They are easy to make and make a great gift for food lovers.
Things You Will Need25g (12oz) plain flour
300g (11oz) caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
325g (12oz) whole blanched almonds
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
Step 1Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to Gas Mark 4 (180Â°C / 350Â°F).
Line two baking sheets with silicone paper.
Step 2Crush a third of the almonds to small pieces by placing in a plastic bag and hitting the bag with a rolling pin until you have small, powdery chunks.
In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; stir well to mix, then stir in all of the almonds.
Step 3In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together with the vanilla extract. Stir in the dry ingredients from the previous stage, until you have a stiff dough.
Step 4Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured board or work surface, and divide the dough in half. Take the first half and roll out into a narrow log a little shorter than your baking sheet. Repeat with the second batch. Place the logs of dough on the baking sheet, making sure they aren't too close to one another, or to the edges of the baking sheet. Press down gently to flatten the logs.
Step 5Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the logs are well risen and have spread to about double their original size. The logs are done when they feel firm when pressed with a fingertip. Place the pan on a rack to cool. Leave the oven on at 180Â°C / 350Â°F, Gas Mark 4.
Step 6Place the cooled logs (make sure they are properly cool) on a cutting board and cut it diagonally into slices 0.7cm (1/3 inch) thick. Arrange the biscotti on the baking sheets, cut side down. It is not necessary to leave space between them. Bake the biscotti for about 15 or 20 minutes or until they are slightly toasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Store the cooled biscotti in an airtight container, where they will keep for 2-3 weeks.
Tips & WarningsVanilla extract, rather than vanilla essence give these cookies a real edge on taste. You can find vanilla extract at specialist food stores and delis.