150 ml sugar
4 - 5 tbsp soft brown sugar (firmly packed)
475 ml coarse wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp vanilla sugar
(pinch of salt)
½ - 1 tsp almond extract
about 100 ml (unblanched) whole almonds and pine kernels (or hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, etc...)
½ - 1 tsp lemon extract
2 tsp grated lemon zest
½ - 1 tsp orange extract
2 tsp grated orange zest
Beat the eggs until fluffy. Add the white and brown sugars little at a time, beating thoroughly, until well combined. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar (and salt) and add to the egg mixture together with the flavouring of your choice. Stir just enough to get the ingredients incorporated.
You can divide the dough in two portions and flavour each with different ingredients. In that case, reduce the amount of flavourings used by half.
With floured hands, form the dough into long, flat logs (about 5 - 8 cm wide) on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (see the picture on right).
Brush the logs with egg wash and bake at 175 °C for about 15 - 25 minutes, or until the logs feel firm and are nicely browned on top (see the picture on right).
Do not let the logs get too firm and dry, they should remain slightly soft and moist. Dry and hard logs will crumble when cut into slices.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150 °C.
Place the biscotti logs on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then carefully cut them in about 1 - 2 cm thick slices, using a sharp serrated knife (see the picture on right).
Dry the slices in the cool oven for about 6 - 7 minutes on each side, or until they are light golden brown and crisp.
Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool.
Serve the biscotti with tea, coffee or some sweet dessert wine. Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Recipe source: adapted from "Biscotti di Greve/Orange almond biscotti" by Carol Field, and "Biscotti di prato/Tuscan almond biscotti" by Gourmet magazine, December/1992, rec.food.recipes postings, 1995 and 1996.