I used to wonder why on earth does Biscotti has to be so hard. Well, as it turned out that Biscotti used to be baked in Roman times as "long shelf life food" (very dry and containing no fat) and hard (so that it won't break easily) so that solders can eat them at battle field. Nowadays, Biscotti has become great accompaniment to espresso, cappuccino, or Vin Santo... Today's Biscotti recipe is originally from Tuscany, but there are many different kinds of Biscotti created by Biscotti lovers. This is the simplest recipe, using only almonds.
1 cup whole almonds
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
150 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond essence
1) It all starts with blanching almonds. Place almonds in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and leave them until it gets cold.
2) Peel the skin of almonds (you can just pop it with fingers.)
Tips: Before start peeling almonds, turn on the oven at 170 C degrees with fan. By the time you finish peeling, oven would be hot.
3) Place blanched almonds on a baking sheet, and roast them at 170 C degrees with fan for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown.
4) Let them cool and chop them coarsely.
5) In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs, and add vanilla extract and almond essence.
6) In another (larger) bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar well.
7) Gradually add the beaten egg mixture and chopped almonds.
Tips: At this point, dough is rather sticky. So use enough flour on the working surface.
8) On a floured surface, make a log with the dough.
9) Transfer the "log" onto a shallow baking pan with baking sheet.
10) Bake at 150 C degrees for about 30 minutes or until light golden color and firm to the touch.
11) Let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
12) Using a sharp knife (or serrated knife makes it easier,) cut the log into slices (ca. 1 cm thick) on diagonal.
13) Arrange them back on the baking sheet, and bake 10 more minutes.
14) Flip them, and bake another 10 minutes.
15) Let them cool, and keep them in airtight container.