Biscotti seem particularly suited for this time of year, going hand in hand with a steaming cup of strong coffee to dip in on a wintry day. Throw in a thick book and you've got my idea of the perfect morning.
They also make a delicious, homemade gift for friends. Just package them in a colorful bag and tie a ribbon - voila!
CHOCOLATE-DIPPED ALMOND BISCOTTI
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp melted butter (unsalted)
2 tbsp almond extract
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour with the sugar, baking powder, salt and almonds in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk eggs with olive oil and almond extract. Pour into the center of the flour mixture. Stir until the dough is blended. Add butter and mix to form a sticky ball.
3. Work the ball of dough on a floured surface. Divide into 3 logs that are bout 12 inches long. Put the logs on the baking sheet at least 3 inches apart. Flatten the logs so that they are 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches wide.
4. Bake the logs until golden for about 22-25 minutes.
5. Cool on racks for about 1/2 hour. On a cutting board, saw logs into sharp, diagonal slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices on the baking sheet baking sheet with cut side down. Bake biscotti for 8-10 minutes on each side, depending on how hard you want them. I like them a little bit soft, so that they harden over time to jaw-breaking firmness. Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes then transfer onto racks.
6. Melt chocolate pieces on a double boiler.
7. Dip cool biscotti, then transfer them onto racks again for chocolate to harden.