Biscotti di Prato (Little Almond Cookies)
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.
- 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 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 biscotti.
- 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.