All Italian cookies are called biscotti, but these are what we think of as classic biscotti. Twice baked cookies, they are first baked in a log shape, then sliced and baked again until they are very dry and crunchy. (Because they contain no butter or other fat, except that contained in the eggs, they can bake to a formidable state of crunchiness.) The techniques used to make can't-stop-eating-them biscotti are, like the cookies themselves, classic.
Recipe from Nick Malgiri. Adapted from the book "Baking with Julia".
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unblanched whole almonds
3 large eggs
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 deg F(180 deg C). Line a baking sheet with parchment and keep aside.
Put the sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula to mix. Stir in the almonds.
Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl, then stir them into the flour mixture. The dough may seem dry at this point but it will come together as it is kneaded.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, folding it over onto itself until it is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into 12-inch-long log. Gently press down on the logs to flatten them until they are about 2 inches wide and 1 inch high. Transfer them to the prepared pan.
Bake the logs for about 30 minutes, or until they are slightly risen and firm to touch. Slide the logs, parchment paper and all, off the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack. The logs must be completely cool before you continue with the recipe. Since they will take about 30 minutes to cool, you can either turn the oven off or leave it on for the next step. You can bake the biscotti up to this point several days ahead. Wrap the logs well in plastic and continue when its convenient.
When the logs have cooled completely, preheat the oven to 350 deg F(180 deg C), if necessary. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with a sharp serrated knife, cut the cooked logs diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place the sliced cookies cut side down on the pans and bake for 10 -15 minutes, or until the biscotti are crisp and golden. Cool on the pans.
These biscotti will keep for up to a month in an airtight tin or plastic container.