Gingery Almond Biscotti

I made a batch of these the other day, to send off as gifts: one as part of a belated birthday present, and another as a thank-you present to our wonderful friend Stan, who does our taxes.  Of course, along the way there were several that were ‘mishapen’ or ‘too short’ or ‘too ugly’ to go in the gift packs (yet clearly not too short, ugly or mishapen to be eaten).  Now I wish I had made a double batch.

The entire house smelled of orangey goodness when these biscotti were baking, but the flavor is all about spicy ginger and crunchy almonds. The addition of a little olive oil makes these biscotti softer, more of a cookie than a must-dunk-in-coffee traditional biscotti.  The gingery bite of these is delicious, but I was hoping for more of an orange note, which was overwhelmed by the ginger.  For a more balanced orange-ginger flavor, I would reduce the cystallized ginger to 1/4 cup and/or up the orange oil to 1/8 teaspoon.  They were also a bit more crumbly than usual, maybe from the softness imparted by olive oil or the whole grain triticale; either way, they were quite delicious, just don’t worry if they get a bit crumbly at the slicing stage.  All broken biscotti go to the chef!

Biscotti make great gifts as they stand up well to shipping and keep for weeks at room temperature.  Make some today for someone you love.

Adapted from Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti, Bon Appetit, December 1998 and Golden Biscotti, in Rose’s Christmas Cookies, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

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Gingery Almond Biscotti

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (6 and 1/4 oz) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cups ( 6 and 1/4 oz) triticale flour (or spelt, whole white wheat, or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • grated zest of 2 medium organic oranges
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, or 1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 scant cup sugar (organic turbinado) + extra for sprinkling
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 drops (~1/16 tsp) orange oil (or 1/2 tsp orange extract)
  • 1 egg white (for wash)
  • about 2 oz good quality chocolate (optional)

METHODS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with Silpat or parchment.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk to combine. Add chopped almonds, ginger and orange zest and toss with hands to thoroughly mix.
  3. Combine butter, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy and fairly smooth (about 5 minutes).  Add olive oil, vanilla, almond extract and orange oil; beat another 2 minutes.
  4. Add flour mixture to egg-butter mixture.  Fold until a soft dough forms.  Add additional flour, 1 tbsp at a time, if dough is very sticky (dough should be workable into a log, but not without some annoyance and very floured hands).
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough in half and form each half into a 2 and 1/2-inch wide, by 9-inch long, by 1-inch high log.  Knead a bit as you are forming the dough to ensure that the dough is compact and will hold together.  Dust with additional flour as needed.
  6. Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart (they will spread during baking). Brush tops and sides with egg white, then sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. For even baking, rotate the pan at about 15 minutes into the cooking time.
  7. Remove from the oven (keep oven set at 350 degrees F) and cool, in the pan, on wire racks, for 20-30 minutes, or until just barely warm. You want the biscotti logs to be just warm enough to be pliable, and cut evenly; too warm or too cold and they will crumble.  If you slice one and it crumbles you can either allow it to cool longer (if the biscotti seems warm) or pop back in the oven for another 5 minutes of baking to firm it up.
  8. Using a serrated knife, cut biscotti on the diagonal, into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the slices close together on the baking sheet (remove Silpat or parchment).  Bake the slices for 10 minutes, then turn cookies over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown (note: I did not flip these, as they seemed too crumbly & soft to flip without breaking; came out fine after baking for 20 minutes without turning). For even baking, rotate the cookie pan at the 10-minute mark when you turn them over.  Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  9. If desired, melt chocolate in a double-boiler or microwave; drizzle melted chocolate over biscotti with a fork, or dip one end of each cookie into a small bowl of melted chocolate.  I added about 3 drops of orange oil to the melted chocolate: delicious!

Yields about 2 dozen biscotti.

OPTIONS

  1. You can substitute 2 and 1/2 cups of whole white wheat flour for the pastry & triticale flours.  If using regular AP flour, start with 2 cups, then add as needed when forming the logs. 
  2. This is essentially a modification of my Dried Cherry Biscotti recipe, with some references to Rose’s Golden Biscotti recipe as well.  There are so many modifications, however, that it seems pointless to list them all.
  3. If you don’t have either orange oil or extract, you could try using the zest from a third orange.
  4. For added crunch, you could press slivered almonds into the outside of the logs following the egg wash.

STORE

Keeps for months in an airtight container at room temperature, although I doubt they will last that long (chocolate will not keep for months, so if you plan to store these long-term, do not coat in chocolate).  If making chocolate-covered biscotti in the summertime, it is best to store these in the refrigerator.

SEASON

Year-round, but oranges are in peak season in Winter.

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