Cornmeal Almond Biscotti

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Last week a conversation about favorite biscotti recipes made me hungry to bake mine once I returned to my own kitchen. My favorite is a recipe from Judy Rodgers, published in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I’ve made the recipe and variations of the recipe umpteen times. It is pretty much foolproof and always delicious, whether just out of the oven or a few days later, dunked in coffee or tea… or wine. (Actually biscotti are even better after a few days of aging but I am such a sucker for warm cookies, I can’t help but gobble a few down when they come out of the oven.)

Below is my adaptation of Judy Roger’s Cornmeal Biscotti. The difference? I use unsalted butter, part whole wheat pastry flour, medium grind cornmeal instead of fine and I don’t add anise seeds.

Cornmeal Almond Biscotti
Adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers

3/4 cup unsalted whole almonds (skin on)
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, in slices
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons anisette

1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons medium grind cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Roast the almonds on a cookie sheet until fragrant and the inside of the nut is just beginning to lightly brown. Finely chop 1/4 cup of the nuts; coarsely chop the remaining  1/2 cup. Set aside to cool. (The nuts can be chopped by hand or in a food processor.)

In a food processor, pulse the butter with the sugar just enough to barely combine. The butter will be chunky.  Add the egg and anisette. Pulse a few more times to mix.

In a separate bowl, combine the nuts, flours, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and pulse until the wet and dry mixtures are just blended and form a dough.

If you prefer, you can add the butter mixture from the food processor  to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir by hand.

Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Place the two logs, spaced a few inches apart, on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and firm, but not hard. In the original recipe, Judy advised it is important to not  underbake the logs, “or the baking powder will not complete its job, and the cookies will be hard and dense rather than crisp and with a great coarse texture.”

Biscotti are double baked so keep your oven on after the first baking.

Transfer the baked logs to a cutting board. Slice on an angle 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and place the cookies cut side down on the baking sheet. Stick the filled sheet back in the oven for another
5 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies. Store in an airtight container where the biscotti will last for days unless devoured sooner.

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