It’s that time again; Tuesday is here along with another installment of Tuesday’s with Dorie.   This may be my last TWD post for the next two to three weeks; starting on Friday all of my baking motivation and drive will be focused on making my wedding cake as perfect as my mother and I are capable of making it.  Not to mention worrying about all of the million and one last minute details associated with planning a wedding and getting married even when you’re not crazy enough to be making your own cake.

This week’s recipe, Lenox Almond Biscotti, was selected by Gretchen of Canela & Comino.  To be honest, I very nearly decided to begin my TWD hiatus early rather than do this recipe.  I am very busy with the wedding and I had never met a biscotti that I liked so I was having difficulty mustering the proper enthusiasm for this recipe.  But, I decided that this would give my mother and I a chance to bake something together before the wedding that didn’t come with the heavy dose of pressure that the wedding cake does.

Both mom and I are glad that we took the time to make this biscotti – I can now say I have met a biscotti that I truly enjoy!

This was my first homemade biscotti ever.  Mom has quite a bit of biscotti baking experience because my father loves the stuff, but she has never enjoyed the results.  Her previous experience did make bringing this recipe together a bit easier than it might have been on my own.

I did not have the sliced almonds that were called for, so I coarsely chopped and toasted some whole almonds.

After that it was a matter of whisking the dry ingredients together.  I was surprised by the inclusion of cornmeal here, but I think that definitely contributed to the reasons I actually liked this biscotti, namely the light crisp texture and slight chewyness.

The wet ingredients came together in a quick creaming process for the sugar and butter

Followed by beating the eggs in and mixing in the almond extract (with the intense aroma wafting up from the bowl it seemed like an awful lot of extract for the amount of dough!).

We gradually incorporated the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Then added the chopped almonds.  At this point I have to admit to thinking that the resultant “dough” really wasn’t very dough like, more like a heavy batter and I was dreading trying to get the sticky mass formed into logs.

But mom discovered that after I spooned the batter into rough log shapes on the silicone mat, it was an easy matter for her to form the batter into more or less uniform logs using just a silicone spatula.  She was a big fan since other recipes she has tried resulted in sticky, messy hands.

After the first baking I thought the “dough” had spread far too much, but mom assured me that they looked good.  The next time I try this recipe, I may start with narrower, higher logs.  I think ours were a little bit wider then the 1 1/2 inches Dorrie specified.

After cooling, I attempted, according to the recipe, to cut the logs using a serrated knife.  I found that the logs were somewhat fragile and the serrated knife was causing a lot breakage.  I switched to a non-serrated blade to finish up.

We got the resultant bars all lined up in the pan and back into the oven for the second round.  I was very careful to get them in the oven with all of the bars still standing, but when I removed them from the oven after the second baking was complete a few of them had listed over a bit.

The finished biscotti still seemed a bit fragile to me as I was moving it off the pan to a rack for cooling but once they were completely cool that was no longer an issue.

The resultant cookies were delightfully light and crisp and even had a slighly chewy texture in the thicker center of the cookie.  They did not have any of the dry, heavy hardness that I’ve come to associate with biscotti.  Mom enjoyed them so much that she has already made plans to make them again and threatened that there may not be any left for dad when he gets to town for the wedding.  She says they remind her of the almond bars that my Italian grandmother makes, which is one of her all-time favorite cookies.  She is already considering some alterations that would make this cookie even closer to grandma’s (mom has asked grandma for the recipe, but she keeps misplacing it so mom is looking for an analogous alternative)

As I mentioned before, I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but a nice cup of Amaretto hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream makes a perfect accompaniment to this biscotti as far as I’m concerned.

Thank you Gretchen for broadening my horizons!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours on pages 141-143.