Biscotti di Prato
(Little Almond Cookies)
- 2 ounces almonds, blanched
- 6 ounces almonds, unblanched
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch ground saffron
- 1 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
- 1 extra-large egg white
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place both the blanched and unblanched almonds on a cookie sheet and toast in
the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Grind 4 ounces of mixed blanched
and unblanched almonds very fine, then cut the remaining toasted almonds into two
or three pieces each.
- Place the flour on a pasta board in a mound and make a well in the center. Put
the sugar and eggs in the well. Mix the sugar and eggs together well, then add the
salt, saffron, and baking soda. Mix thoroughly and when all the ingredients in the
well are well integrated, incorporate the flour little by little, until all but
about 2 tablespoons is incorporated. Set the leftover flour aside. Knead the dough
for 10 to 15 minutes, then add the very finely ground almonds and the almond pieces.
Knead for 2 to 3 minutes more, incorporating the remaining flour.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces. With your hands, shape each piece into a long,
thin roll about 3/4 inch in diameter, then place, widely apart on a buttered and
floured cookie sheet. Beat the egg white slightly in a small bowl and lightly coat
the tops of the 8 rolls with it, using a pastry brush, then put the baking sheet
into the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the rolls from the oven (they
will expand in size sideways) and cut them with a long slicing knife at a 45 degree
angle every 3/4 inch to get the shape required for this type of little cookie, or
- Place the biscotti back in the oven, this time at 275 degrees F, for 35
to 45 minutes. They will be very dry.
Serves 8 to 10.
These cookies are much better eaten after 2 or 3 days, when they have softened
a little; keep them in a paper bag. If you wish to keep them indefinitely, transfer
after a week to a jar or can.