Lemon, Olive Oil, and Almond Biscotti
- 1 cup whole almonds, skins on
- 2 large eggs
- grated zest of 2 Meyer lemons (see Tips)
- 1 cup sugar
- 0.5 cup Sicilian olive oil (see Tips)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2.5 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp table salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Put the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 15 minutes, or until they are well browned and fragrant. Let the nuts cool (leave the oven on). When the almonds are cool enough to handle, put them in a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times, until ground.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, lemon zest, sugar, olive oil, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, stopping two or three times to scrape down the bowl. Mix until the dough is just beginning to come together. Do not overmix.
Scoop the dough out onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and shape it into 2 equal logs. The dough should be sticky -- you may need to wet your hands slightly with water in order to work with it. Each log should be about as wide as two knuckles on your middle finger and about ½-inch tall. Bake for 14 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for 14 more minutes. Let the logs cool on the baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F.
Transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs into ½-inch-thick biscotti. Put the biscotti on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them ½-inch apart. Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for 7 more minutes, or until the biscotti are slightly crisp on the exposed sides. Transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
Variation: I like it when citrus desserts have a little bit of salt. A modest sprinkle of fleur de sel on top of the biscotti before they go into the oven adds a delicious layer of flavor.
Tips: If Meyer lemons are not available, you can substitute 2 regular lemons, or even the grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange.
The stronger the flavor of your olive oil, the more it will shine through in this recipe.
Recipe courtesy of One Girl Cookies by Dawn Casale and David Crofton, 2012. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.