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Wednesday 5 January 2011

Baking for Beginners: Almond Biscotti

I'd always thought of biscotti as those unpleasant looking, dry biscuits that certain café chains try to force on every customer. Until, that is, an Italian friend introduced me to this recipe which makes delicious, light, crunchy treats that are crying out to be dunked in a cup of coffee. I've used almonds but you could use up any nuts you've got lying around after Christmas. Why do we buy so many nuts? What were we thinking? Christmas is a time for binging on carbs, not protein.

They make a great home-made gift and will keep for a couple of weeks in an air-tight tin. Give them a go - they don't take long and you've probably got all the ingredients in your cupboard.

Almond biscotti - makes 40 biscuits

Recipe courtesy of @finallyalecto on Twitter

You will need:
  • Butter for greasing
  • 250g caster sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 175g unpeeled almonds
  • 1 egg yolk, mixed with 2 tbsp milk, to glaze
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Line two baking sheets with greased greaseproof paper. Whisk the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract into a thick, creamy mousse - this should take about 4-5 minutes with an electric whisk.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the egg mixture and gently fold in. Gently mix in the almonds to form a sticky dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into four long sausages. Each should be as wide as a single biscuit - about 2cm. Place them on the baking sheets, spaced well apart, glaze and sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool until they firm up. Reduce the oven temperature to 130C.
  5. Gently slide the dough onto a chopping board and use a serrated knife to cut them into individual biscuits. The surface will be dry and brittle, so be careful. Don't worry if any fall apart though - the centre will still be soft so you can gently press them together.
  6. Return to the baking sheets, resting each biscotti flat-side down. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, turning over halfway through.
Allow to cool, and then serve with coffee or dessert wine. Remember to sample a few while they're slightly warm and gooey in the middle.


  1. I came across this post today, while looking for new biscotti recipes. I love to bake biscotti, and am always looking for new nuances to add to my collection. What's the difference between caster sugar and regular cane sugar?

  2. Caster sugar is jut finer, that's all. You can still use regular sugar if you're n a pickle, but you won't get such a smooth texture.


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