Almond Biscotti are a delight, but as with all things baked, best when they're fresh. That said, they're meant to be crunchy; if you ever thought that their consistency was somewhat akin to hardtack, you'd be right on the mark. Biscotti have their origins in the same vein as that staple of old time sailors. Initially, biscotti was a twice baked, fatless ration carried by the Roman Legions, meant to last for months if not years. The almond flavoring we use here harkens back to that original version. Nowadays, we often add a little fat to make them more toothsome, at the expense of longevity.
Make this recipe fresh at home and you'll never go back to store bought.
2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
3/4 Cup local Honey or Agave Nectar
1/2 Cup slivered Almonds
2 whole Eggs
1 Egg White
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Vanilla Bean, (or 1/2 teaspoon pure extract)
1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 350° F and set a rack in the middle spot.
Line a heavy gauge baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Cut or process almonds to a rough chop.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the almonds until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Carefully slice the vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape the seeds into a smaller mixing bowl. Put the pod into your sugar bowl to add a lovely vanilla note; you can also save the pod for a recipe that calls for a liquid and soak it therein.
In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, almonds, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, blend the vanilla, almond extract, eggs, egg white, and honey or agave.
Add the wet mix to the dry and combine thoroughly. This will be a rather dry dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 15 seconds. Like a good pie dough, you just want to incorporate the ingredients and activate the gluten a bit; take care to not overwork the dough – 15 seconds kneading, max.
Divide the dough in two and roll each half out by hand to roughly 12″ length.
Place loaves on your prepped baking sheet and gently flatten them down to about 3/4″ thickness.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the loaves are firm and slightly springy to the touch.
Remove loaves from the oven, reduce oven heat to 325° F.
Place loaves onto a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Slide loaves onto a cutting board and slice each at a 45° angle and 1/2″ thick.
Place slices on an unlined baking sheet, then bake for 10 minutes.
Flip each biscotti over and bake another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, place biscotti on the wire rack, allow them to cool completely.
Store biscotti in an airtight glass container. They'll last quite a while, but they're best if eaten within a few days of baking.
Dip biscotti about half their length in the chocolate of your choice. Set them on a wire rack until the chocolate has hardened completely.
Add 1/2 Cup of dried cranberries, raisins, dates, apricots, or other dried fruit to the wet mix.