One of my favorite thank you gifts to give is almond biscotti. They’re easy to make, delicious and a sweet way to show your gratitude. It takes a little more effort than stopping by the store to pick up a bottle of wine (but not too much more!), showing how much you care for your host and the time it took to have you over.
Biscotti can seem intimidating, but it’s a simple cookie to make. The trick to them is baking them twice – first as two logs and then cut into thick cookies. These were one of my mom’s specialties growing up, and now I’ve been baking them in my own home with her recipe. We like to keep them around the flat to have with coffee or as dessert (my husband sometimes sneaks a few when he gets home from a long day at work, too!). Once you’ve baked them, store in a glass container on your kitchen counter, or wrap in clear cello bags tied with a festive ribbon to give away. If you want to get extra fancy, you can dip them in chocolate and even add sprinkles – perfect for holidays (Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!).
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole almonds
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 F/177 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl (to make it quicker, I just put it in the KitchenAid mixer — I’m always looking for ways to cut down on time). Toss in the almonds and stir.
In a separate bowl, mix together your eggs and vanilla, then pour into the dry mixture. (Your dough may be slightly dry right now, but it will come together once you knead it.) Lightly flour a surface, and put the dough on top. Knead it together and separate into two logs, about a foot in length.
Bake the logs for 30 minutes, or until slightly rises and are firm. Put the logs, parchment paper and all, onto a cooling rack for about 30 minutes until cool.
In the interim, reline the baking sheet with new parchment paper. With a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2″ cookies diagonally. Put the cut cookies down onto the pan to bake the inside. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Place back onto the cooling rack, let sit for a few minutes (if you can wait!) and enjoy.
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