The New Year is the perfect time to try your hand at baking with olive oil. And what better way than to create healthy homemade treats like biscotti that can be enjoyed any time of day, all year long? In Italy, biscotti are savored from dawn to dusk. They are dipped in cappuccino in the morning, enjoyed as a little sweet in the afternoon, and make the perfect late-night snack --- dipped in wine. The best recipes are passed down from generation to generation and become a long family tradition. So, in hopes that you can begin a tradition of your own, please enjoy this traditional olive oil recipe, shared by my mother, Gigi Firenze.
Baking biscotti at home is quick and easy. Equipment is minimal. Mixing bowls, spoons and a baking sheet are the only essentials. The word “biscotti” is from two root words: bis and cotto. Bis translates to “more than one” and cotto means: “cooking” in Italian. This is achieved by forming the dough into long breadstick-like logs and baking once; then the baked logs are sliced diagonally and baked again.
1/2 cup whole almonds
1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon orange extract and 1 tablespoon orange zest
How to prepare:
- On a baking sheet, toast the almonds at 350º for 5 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix the sugar and the olive oil, then beat in 2 eggs; reserve.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to reserve; add the orange extract and orange zest.
- Mix until the dough clings together (do not overwork). Form the mixture into a ball; place on a cutting board. Cover with a bowl and let rest for 15 minutes. While waiting, flour the almonds while they are still warm and knead into the dough. Grease a thin cookie sheet with olive oil or butter.
- Beat the remaining egg to create a glaze.
- Divide the dough into 4 parts and form each into long breadstick-shaped rolls. Place the rolls on the greased cookie sheet, well apart. Flatten each slightly and brush the tops with egg glaze (use about half, discard extra).
- Bake at 350º for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- Move rolls onto a cutting surface and slice into 1/2” diagonal slices while still warm. Place the slices back on the cookie sheet and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 50 biscotti