Orange Chocolate Almond Biscotti

When I was a kid, I don’t think you could have paid me to eat biscotti.

To kid-me, an oblong brick of a “cookie” filled to the brim with nuts and dried fruits (and any other non-chocolate addition) merited every last quotation around the word.

Give me chocolate chip!  Give me snickerdoodle!  Hell, give me a fig newton, but keep that biscotti away from me, will you?

Oh, how times change.  I’ve lived, guys, and I’ve learned.  It turns out that biscotti don’t have to be tooth-breakingly hard.  They don’t have to contain aniseed, or any other flavors/spice you dislike.

Biscotti can be tender and crumbly and even worthy of the chocolate chip!  And dunked in some coffee, tea, or a cold glass of milk?  Ho ho ho, everybody.  Merry almost-Christmas to me!

Orange Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), mix together the sugar and orange zest, using your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until fragrant and light orange in color.  Add the butter, 3 eggs, and vanilla extract, mixing well to combine.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and gently mix to incorporate.  Fold in the almonds and chocolate chips until fully combined.

Divide dough in half and, with well-floured hands, shape each dough half into a log roughly 2 inches wide.  Transfer logs to the baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between logs (they will spread in the oven).  Brush both logs with beaten egg and bake the logs until lightly golden, about 30 minutes.  Remove logs from the oven and allow to cool on a baking rack, but leave the oven on.

Once completely cooled, transfer logs to a cutting board and slice each one on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices.  Place cookie slices back on the baking sheet (they may not all fit — either do the next step in batches or use 2 pans), cut-side down, and bake the biscotti for 10 minutes.  Flip each cookie over, and bake another 10 minutes, until biscotti are slightly firm and nicely browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

Cookies will keep, well-wrapped at room temperature, roughly 7-10 days.  They also freeze beautifully — thaw at room temperature or reheat gently in a low oven.

Makes about 50 cookies.

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