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- Preheat oven to 350° F to toast the almonds. Put the almonds on a baking sheet in the oven for about 12 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. Do not over-roast them.
- Reset the oven to 375°. Grease a cookie sheet with a paper towel dipped in a little oil, and flour it lightly.
- Mix the flour, sugar and baking soda in a bowl and toss with a fork to combine well. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat the 4 eggs briefly, just to combine the yolks and whites. Add the vanilla.
- Stir, do not beat, the eggs into the flour mixture, kneading with your hands in the bowl until you have a homogeneous mixture.
- Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured wooden board. Sprinkle the nuts over it and continue kneading for a few minutes until the nuts are distributed throughout the dough.
- Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes or so, then divide it into 6 pieces.
- Using your hands, shape each piece into a long thin log no more than 2-inches in diameter.
- Set each log as it is finished on the cookie sheet, separated far enough to allow expansion during the baking process.
- Press the top of each log to flatten it slightly; the log should be oval in section rather than round. Using a fork, beat the egg white with the water in a small bowl.
- Paint each log with egg white, using a pastry brush. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the logs are dry and lightly colored.
- Remove from the oven and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.
- Reset the oven to 300° F. When the logs are cool enough to handle, slice them on the diagonal, no more than 1/2-inch thick, using a long sharp knife.
- Lay the biscotti, flat side down, on the cookie sheet and return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes more.
- Transfer the biscotti to a rack to dry, cool, and harden for several hours. They can be kept in a cookie tin for 6-weeks or more.
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