Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
It is a fascinating look at life in Renaissance Tuscany. Not far from Datini's palazzo is the shop of Antonio Mattei, in via Ricasoli; this old establishment has been making and selling biscotti di Prato since 1858.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
1/2 cup blanched and slivered almonds
2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, or just until they begin to brown at the edges. Transfer the almonds to a bowl and allow them to cool.
In another bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the cooled almonds.
In another bowl mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the sugar and egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix with your hands to form a dough. The dough will be very loose.
With floured hands transfer the dough to a sheet of wax paper set inside a lasagna dish or cookie sheet and shape it into a 10 × 5 1/2-inch-long loaf.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight.
With a sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise and place each half, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Reshape the loaves slightly.
Bake the loaves for about 18 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch but still pale looking. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the loaves to cool for 10 minutes.
With a sharp knife cut diagonal 1/2-inch thick slices from each loaf. Lay the slices on their sides and return the baking sheet to the oven. Toast the biscotti on each side for about 5 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
Transfer the biscotti to a cooling rack. These cookies should be hard in texture. Serve them with vin santo or other dessert wine or with coffee and tea.
Note: These are "long keepers" if stored in an airtight tin. The can be frozen successfully for several months.
This recipe is featured on show 2112 - Roast Pork, Tuscan Style.