Recipe adapted from William Sonoma’s The Art of the Cookie
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted, slivered almonds
The zest of 1 orange
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white with 1 teaspoon water; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the 2 eggs and almond and vanilla extracts and beat on low speed until the eggs are incorporated. Beating on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Add the almonds and the orange zest until just distributed.
3. Divide the dough in half. Shape each piece into a 4 1/2-by-7-inch log and transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 4 inches apart. Brush the tops of the logs with the egg white mixture and lightly sprinkle them with granulated sugar.
4. Bake until the tops of the logs are light brown, 18-20 minutes. Remove the cookies and leave the oven on. Using a serrated knife, cut each log into 10 slices about 3/4 of an inch thick. Arrange the slices, cut side down, on the sheet and bake until the biscotti are golden brown, 10 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Biscotti have never been my favorite cookie. Always rock-hard and stale, I have had several unpleasant experiences with biscotti in the past. This recipe altered my negative perception of the traditional Italian cookie. The savory almond contrasts perfectly with the tangy orange zest, creating an ideal consistency and flavor balance. Unlike the others I had tried, these citrus-almond biscotti are beautifully crisp and golden brown on the tops and barely moist on the insides. You can substitute the almond and citrus for various fruits, nuts, and chocolates based on personal preference or seasonal availability of products. If you are impartial to biscotti because of a sour past experience, I strongly encourage you to try this recipe. I can assure that you will not be disappointed.