Tomorrow, I get to go to a brunch. I mentioned in the previous blog that things have been crazy here. That’s certainly not an understatement or an exaggeration. Things have been so crazy that I was very late in responding to my invitation to brunch and, therefore, out of “easy” or “obvious” options on what to take, food-wise. Several people are bringing fruit, one is bringing blueberry muffins. Mini quiches, breakfast casseroles, salads and desserts are all taken by those smart enough to claim them early. Additionally, my evening packed with the sure-to-be-a-blast “Wildcats Pep Rally & Mini School Night” for my 12-year-old’s middle school. There just isn’t time for anything complicated or time consuming, yet I still want something unique.
So my thoughts turned to the time of year. In Texas, it’s still hot. 96 degrees today, in fact. But Autumn is coming. You can even feel it a bit if you really try. Mornings are a bit cooler, the blessed fronts are picking up steam and coming with a bit more frequency and even in the heat of the day, the humidity is down. High School football is in full swing and the stores are full of scarecrows and wreaths in beautiful tones of orange and brown. Somehow 96 in early September seems much cooler than 99 in August and I find that I’m not as hesitant about turning on the oven or spending time in the kitchen. Taking all of this into account, I decided that for this brunch, I will bake an Autumn favorite. I will make Biscotti.
Biscotti (long o sound when you pronounce that, please) is a favorite of mine to enjoy with an afternoon cup of coffee. I’m a purist when it comes to this traditional Italian treat. I want my Biscotto (singular form) to have a light flavor that doesn’t compete with the coffee. Toasted almonds and vanilla are the main flavor components of my recipe. The Italians would probably be disappointed that I don’t use anise, and if you’re partial to the licorice flavor then you can absolutely substitute it for my beloved vanilla. Go ahead. I also plan to add a drizzle of white chocolate (or that white, almost too sweet stuff that is just lucky enough to be called, ‘chocolate’ when it really isn’t). It’s pretty and adds a touch of sweetness when dunked into that aforementioned coffee.
So let’s get started and you’ll see just how easy and delicious homemade biscotti. You will never want to pay $2 for the prepackaged Starbucks version again.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar – divided
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup almonds, toasted & chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons milk
Preaheat oven to 375F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and 1 cup of sugar. When well combined, add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in vanilla.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder & salt. Gradually add to mixer, beating until well combined.
Stir in almonds.
Cover a baking sheet with foil and grease with butter. Divide dough into two mounds on tray. NOTE: Dough will be fairly sticky. Butter fingers and shape mounds into logs 12-inches long and 3-inches wide.
Brush logs with milk and sprinkle with remaining 1/4-cup sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes or until logs are golden and firm to the touch. Remove logs and foil together to cooling rack and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300F.
Remove logs from foil and place on cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut on the bias into approximately 1/2-inch slices.
Place slices, cut side down, on baking sheet and place in oven for 15 minutes or until firm and golden. Flip slices over and place in oven for another 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.