Better Biscotti (I swear.)

I recently posted a biscotti recipe that I had modified from another recipe off a beloved blog. That recipe is for something named “Mondel Bread,” but in my kitchen it came out like biscotti. Amos and I were talking about my recent biscotti experiences, and he helped me unearth our old biscotti recipe, which we haven’t made in about a year as a result of the huge move & then pregnancy news.  This recipe yields a much drier, more traditional biscotti, whereas my previous recipe is more crumbly, like a cookie.  I actually prefer the recipe below; although the instructions are longer and may seem more complicated, they are actually not at all more difficult.  These instructions give some reasoning behind the methods in parts, and so may seem more complicated, but they are actually just more detailed.

Almond & Orange Biscotti
(Of course, flavorings & nuts are optional/changeable.)

1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
¾ c. slivered almonds
2 tbsp. minced orange zest
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
3. In a bowl large enough for all the ingredients, break & whisk the two eggs together with the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow.
4. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, orange zest, and slivered almonds to the egg mixture and stir once or twice with a spatula.
5. Working in batches, pour enough of the flour mixture to cover the surface of the egg mixture. Use a spatula and fold in the flour using as few strokes as possible. Add more flour and fold until all the flour has been integrated. Folding is performed by using a spatula to scoop from either the side or the middle of the mixture and lifting and “folding” (basically moving the spatula laterally and then flipping it over to drop the mixture) onto another part of the mixture. Rotate the bowl each fold.
6. Split the batter in half and place the two rough balls onto a non-stick baking sheet (such as a silicone baking mat or parchment paper set in a half sheet pan). With your hands, form the batter into two loaves of approximately 10-in. (25 cm) by 2 in. (5 cm) each. Wetting your hands just a bit may help with molding the loaves since the batter will be fairly sticky.
7. Bake the loaves at 350°F (175°C) for 40 minutes (rotating the pan once after twenty minutes). The loaves should have just started to crack. Don’t wait for big cracks or you might overcook the biscotti.
8. After some cooling, move a loaf to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 3/8-in. (1 cm) thick pieces. Do the same to the other loaf. The interior of each biscotti should still be just a little moist (while the exterior is nice and hard). The crust of the loaf will probably be quite hard, so use a large serrated knife such as a bread knife for this job.
9. Place the biscotti with a cut side facing up on a half sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes. Remove the pan and flip all the biscotti over so the other cut side is now facing up. Bake for another 7 minutes. Set all the pieces on a wire rack to cool making sure that none of the biscotti are touching each other. If the biscotti are placed too close together, they could get a little soft or soggy as they cool.


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