Many people don’t try their hand at baking biscotti at home, but it is well worth the effort because biscotti are great cookies to have around and homemade ones are a huge improvement over storebought in just about all cases. These Ginger Almond Biscotti stat with my favorite basic biscotti dough, a dough that is easy to put all kinds of flavor variations on once you have a little bit of experience shaping and cutting the biscotti. It’ll only take two or three batches – as long as you have a nice, sharp knife handy – until your biscotti look uniform and picture perfect every single time you make them.
The dough is flavored with vanilla extract to give it a nice background flavor, but the dominant flavors in each bite are candied ginger and toasted almonds. Both the ginger and almonds are mixed in to the dough just before baking. These ingredients are flavorful enough that you will clearly taste them as you munch your way through the cookies without having to add any spices. I used slivered almonds because they not only give the cookies a nice look, but they’re easy to slice through when cutting up the dough logs after the first baking, where whole almonds can sometimes pop out of place. I also used candied ginger baking chips, which are about the size of chocolate chips and are very easy to incorporate into any kind of batter or dough. If you can’t find ginger chips, you can simply buy larger pieces of candied ginger and chop them up.
One thing that I like about this dough is that it is fairly dry and not too sticky, which makes it easy to handle when you are shaping the initial dough logs. You’ll still need to dust the logs with flour to shape them, but the dough won’t run all over the place. They spread just enough to give the finished cookies a nice shape, without spreading off the edge of your baking sheet! The dough has a great flavor all on its own, even without mix-ins. It uses just enough butter to keep the cookies from getting too hard as they dry out in the oven, but not soo much that they turn into a completely different type of cookie. The best part is that this recipe will make a fairly large batch and that biscotti will keep for a long time if they are stored in an airtight container, meaning that you can bake them now and enjoy them with your coffee, tea or hot chocolate for well over a week – which is much longer than your average cookie is going to stay fresh.
Ginger Almond Biscotti
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup slivered, toasted almonds
1/3 cup diced candied ginger/candied ginger chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the egg white and vanilla extract.
With the mixer on a slow speed, gradually incorporate the flour mixture, stirring just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in almonds and candied ginger.
Divide the dough in half. Shape one half of the dough into a log about 2 1/2-in high and 8-10-in long (log should be quite narrow) on the prepared baking sheet (dough will be quite sticky; use a spatula or bench scraper, or lightly flour your hands to make it easier to shape). Dough will spread, so repeat the process with the rest of the dough on another baking sheet.
Bake logs for about 30 minutes, until dark golden and set. Cookies will spring back when lightly pressed in the center.
Allow dough log to cool on a wire rack for 20-25 minutes, then slice into cookies 1/2 inch thick using a sharp chefs knife or serrated knife. Arrange upright on baking sheet.
With the oven still at 350F, bake cookies a second time for 20-25 minutes, until they are lightly browned on the sides and slightly crisp. Top and bottom of the biscotti should be relatively dark.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.
Makes 3 dozen.