Did you know that the singular form of “biscotti” is “biscotto”? I didn’t (until I sat down to write this, that is). I imagine it is not used much, due partially to the prevalence of “biscotti” and partially due to the fact that it is difficult to talk about this delicious Italian biscuit without talking about multiple biscuits. Because really, who can eat just one? Especially if they’re almond biscotti?
A discussion with a coworker one late summer afternoon prompted an investigation into a recipe for these. My coworker remarked how “fashionable” it would be to receive visitors at one’s home and offer refreshments, casually stating, “sorry, I only have homemade biscotti, would you like some?” I laughed at the supremely posh ridiculousness of this hypothetical home visit. Fashionable indeed. A highly unlikely scenario for someone such as myself. But nonetheless, it sparked a bit of curiosity in me. How does one make biscotti?
Biscotti come from Italy; they are crisp, dry, biscuity cookies. A two-step baking process gives them their characteristic dryness. Fans of ooey, gooey cookies and melt-in-your-mouth sweets may be surprised at the comparative toughness of these treats.
My first inclination was to try out a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, one of my go-to blogs when I want to try something for the first time. Her orange liqueur and almond biscotti caught my eye; it seemed straightforward and resulted in a rather adult biscotti end product. When I went out to gather my ingredients, however, I came across a darjeeling tea liqueur and my mind changed immediately. It seemed the perfect match for my experimental baking session.
In attempting to follow the recipe (using weighted measurements), however, I found I needed to use quite a bit of flour to make the dough hold together enough to form the “log” described in the original recipe. There’s a considerable amount of sugar included, but the end result is not particularly sweet (thankfully). I was thrilled with the inclusion of the Darjeeling tea liqueur; it gives an herbal tang to the biscotti and works wonderfully against the nutty flavor of the almond slices. I have already enjoyed several of these almond biscotti with coffee, but I imagine they would be wonderful with tea as well (chai too).
You’ll need a little patience, as after the first bake, the biscotti logs will need to cool before you cut them into individual pieces. Also, cutting them on a slight diagonal will give them a more pleasant shape (cutting vertically will give you something a bit more like breadsticks, if you’re into that). The recipe will produce about 50 almond biscotti, so prepare to share with friends and family. This is a perfect segue into autumn. For the most indulgent way to enjoy these, make yourself a cocktail with some of the tea liqueur used in the recipe. Perfect for a brisk evening and a good chat. Hope you enjoy.
ALMOND BISCOTTI WITH DARJEELING TEA LIQUEUR
(makes about 50 pieces)
600 g all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
300 g sugar
140 g unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs + 1 egg (white only)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp darjeeling tea liqueur
1 tbsp orange zest
3/4 cup almond slices
- Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
- Mix sugar, butter, 3 eggs, vanilla, liqueur, and zest in a large bowl until well incorporated. Add flour mixture and mix well. Add almonds. Mix with wooden spoon until everything is evenly distributed. Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Separate dough into two pieces. Prepare a floured work surface. Put one piece of dough onto surface and gently form into a log shape. Place on papered baking sheet, and shape gently into 3-inch wide by 13 inch long log. Repeat with other piece of dough. Brush top and sides of each dough log with egg white.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool (25-30 minutes).
- Remove baked biscotti logs from baking sheet and gently cut on the diagonal into 1.5 inch wide pieces. Discard parchment paper. Place cut biscotti pieces on baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for about 10 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Allow to cool on a rack. Enjoy.