What makes biscotti irresistible? Maybe it’s the satisfying crunch when bitten into or perhaps it’s how perfectly it pairs with your morning coffee, but I personally like biscotti because of the endless variations it can adapt to. Today, I looked to almonds for flavor and made toasted almond biscotti with a vanilla bean glaze.
Toasted almond is one of my favorite flavors and I probably owe that to the Good Humor man—that ice cream bar was always my go-to choice. Now I get a tinge of excitement every time I use almond extract in my baked goods. I can’t help that amaretto flavor is just irresistible to me!
Almonds are typically a staple in traditional Italian biscotti so I took that and ran with it. I toasted some almonds up and added almond extract to the dough to enhance the flavor. Bonus: the coarsely chopped almonds make the biscotti texture even crunchier.
To toast the almonds, I suggest putting them on a baking sheet and into the oven at 350° F for 15 minutes, stirring them every three minutes to ensure even toasting. Let them cool to room temp and then coarsely chop them. I prefer this method over toasting in a pan on the stovetop. Even though stovetop is quicker, I find that the almond don’t always toast as evenly.
Pumping up that almond flavor really did take traditional Italian biscotti to another level and the vanilla bean glaze added just the right amount of sweetness. The end result was “perfetto!” In fact, I’m dipping my biscotti in my coffee as I type.
Toasted Almond Biscotti with Vanilla Bean Glaze
- 2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup whole almonds with skins toasted, cooled and chopped coarse
Vanilla Bean Glaze
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
By hand or using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then the almond extract. Stir in the almonds. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the egg mixture, then fold in until the dough is just mixed.
Halve the dough and turn both portions onto the prepared baking sheet. Using floured hands, quickly stretch each portion of dough into a rough 13 by 2 inch log. Place the loaves about three inches apart on the baking sheet, patting each one smooth.
Bake until the loaves until are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.
Cool the loaves for 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 325° F. Transfer the loaves to a cutting board. With a serrated knife cut each loaf diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lay the slices about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet, cut-side up, and return them to the oven. Bake, turning over each cookie halfway through baking, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the glaze, whisk together confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, butter, milk and salt until combined. Add more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.
Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated.