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Anise seeds, pistachio nuts, hazelnuts or almonds are the most popular additions to crunchy "twice-cooked" Italian biscuits. When drizzled with melted chocolate they may be given as gifts. In Italy, plain biscotti are dipped into coffee. In Provence, France, they are smaller and served as cookies. To make cookies, divide the dough into six rolls instead of three. Mandelbrot, or “almond bread,” is a traditional Jewish cookie which resembles biscotti but is a thinner 1/4-inch slice. You can add chocolate pieces, dried fruit or any of your favorite nuts. Anise is also delicious.

    1 cup butter
    1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons almond extract
    5 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup low-fat buttermilk
    1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
    1 (4-ounce) sweet chocolate bar or milk chocolate
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°.

2.  In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar
     until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then
     beat in the almond extract.

3.  Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Add to
     creamed butter alternately with buttermilk, ending with flour.

4.  Toast the slivered almonds on a baking sheet in the oven for a
     few minutes, stir into dough. Toast sliced almonds on the
     same sheet, set aside.

5.  Shape dough into three 10 x 3-inch oval loaves about 1 inch
     high; place on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. 
     Cool 15 minutes, then cut into 1/2-inch
diagonal slices, sawing 
     with the knife more than pressing down to avoid crumbling the delicate 

6.  Turn oven off, then place slices back on the baking sheets 
     and return to the warm oven; leave overnight. If slices are not 
     completely dried out, heat at 200
° for one to two hours.

7.  Chocolate-covered biscotti may be made by melting the chocolate
     bar in a plastic bag on 1/2 power in the microwave for a minute.
     Microwave in 10-second intervals, pressing chocolate with 
     a spoon, it tends to keep its shape. This makes it hard to tell if 
     it is melted. Chocolate can become very hot so you may want 
     to wear gloves.

8.  Snip corner of bag. Drizzle melted chocolate over biscotti, then
     quickly sprinkle with sliced almonds before chocolate 
     hardens again.

     Hint: For New Year’s gifts, drizzle with dark chocolate 
     and sprinkle with nonpareils. Package when chocolate is set. 
     You can make up little gift baskets by adding a wrapped 
      1.75-ounce bag of ground coffee, 4 wrapped chocolate spoons 
     (pour extra melted chocolate into molds, set in freezer
then wrap 
     in cellophane and tie with ribbon), a nutmeg grinder and a little 
     bottle of vanilla or other flavored sugar syrup.

     Makes 8 bags containing about 6 biscotti in each bag


Seasoned with Love
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