After exams, a flu, and lots of last minute Christmas orders, I’m finally back! I’m very much hoping to get back to a fairly regular blogging schedule, and I really do plan on posting the rest of the honeymoon saga (though I’m sure you’ve all long since lost interest). In the meantime though, I’m going to give you fun holiday recipe.
I don’t cook often (thankfully my husband is an excellent cook and doesn’t mind doing it), but I do like to bake from time to time. Biscotti happens to be something I’m pretty good at, so I usually make a batch or two around this time of year. It’s great for giving as a gift – it’s not hard to make, it’s a bit different, and it keeps well in tins.
I have a particular recipe that I usually like to use, but this year I couldn’t find it. It turns out it’s at my mom’s house, but not having it handy inspired me to try something new. This recipe is an adaptation of this Epicurious recipe.
Note that these are very gingery, even as I have the recipe written (Epicurious called for even more ginger). If you aren’t a huge ginger fan, you can cut down the ginger by using a little less ground ginger or substituting the crystallized ginger for another ingredient like dried fruits. I think that this would be great with chopped dates.
If you’re wondering what crystallized ginger is, it’s basically just candied ginger. I think it’s delicious on its own, plus it’s great if you have a stomachache. You can usually find it as health food stores and food co-ops. I got mine from a bin at Whole Foods.
Also, this recipe makes about 14-16 5″ biscotti (depending on how you cut them/shape the loaves), which is enough for one very full, round Christmas tin. If you’re doing a few tins for people, you might want to double the recipe.
Ginger Almond Biscotti
- 3/4 cup dry toasted, unsalted almonds (you can also toasted raw almonds in an oven for about 10 minutes)
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
First of all, preheat your oven to 300°F.
Next, coarsely chop your crystallized ginger and almonds. You can chop them together, since they’ll go into the recipe at the same time. Note that the ginger is sticky inside.
Next you’ll need to sift together the flour, sugar, ground ginger, salt, and baking soda. If you don’t have a sifter (like me) a neat trick is to take a metal strainer and use it to sift the ingredients.
In a separate bowl, beat the whole egg, egg white, and vanilla together. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix them together well. Then add the crystallized ginger and almonds and mix some more.
This was the first time I’ve had a chance to use the mixer my grandmother got us for our wedding and I was very happy to have it! Don’t expect the biscotti dough to be very wet or to mix well. When it’s all mixed together nicely, you should have a substance that looks a bit like very lumpy oatmeal.
Now you get to form the loaf. If you’d like, you can use a buttered loaf pan. However, I prefer to free form my biscotti loaves on a baking sheet. Free-forming the loaves give you more freedom to shape them, plus I prefer the look. Grease your baking sheet or cover it with non-stick aluminum foil.
Wetting your hands prior to picking up the dough makes it easier to shape (plus it’s easier to get off your hands afterward). I made mine into one large log for longer biscotti, but if you want to do mini biscotti make two logs that are half as wide as the one. Keep in mind that while the dough will spread somewhat while baking, it won’t rise, so don’t make it too thin.
Bake at 300°F for about 45 minutes or until it’s a nice golden color.
Take out the loaf and let it cool for 30-45 minutes. Epicurious says to cut it after 10 minutes, but I think that’s a very good way to end up with a lot of biscotti crumbles and very few intact biscotti. In my experience, cool biscotti loaves cut much better than warm ones. Letting it cool completely won’t hurt it and it may save you some frustration, so put it on a cooling rack or in some nice, cat-free area and forget about it for a while.
Now that your biscotti is nice and cool (you did wait, didn’t you?), take a serrated knife and cut the loaf crosswise (across the thinner part). I usually cut mine into 1/2″ thick slices, but you can vary that to taste. Put your slices back onto the cookie sheet (you might need to break out another baking sheet to fit them all, or you can do them in shifts) and put them back into the oven at 300°F for about 15 minutes until they get crisp. They’ll get a bit crispier once you take them out and cool them, so if they’re looking darker after 15 minutes, but haven’t reached the level of crisp you’d like, let them cool then check them.
You should have some delicious ginger almond biscotti! Put them in a tin (after eating a few yourself) and impress your friends and family for the holidays!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!