This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Gretchen of Canela & Comino; she chose Dorie’s Lenox Almond Biscotti which is located on pages 141-143 of Baking:From My Home to Yours. I was excited when I saw this weeks recipe because I actually make biscotti all the time. I guess it started when I tasted my Great Uncle Fred’s biscotti for the first time when I was 14 or 15 year old. They were always beautiful and he made many different flavors: Anise-Walnut, Cherry-Almond, Cranberry-Almond, Pistachio, etc. After tasting all of his biscotti I knew that I had to have the recipe. I called my grandmother (Uncle Fred’s sister) and asked her if there was anyway that she could get me Uncle Fred’s biscotti recipe. She said that she would try, but she didn’t know if he would give it to me since it actually was a secret.
I don’t know how she did it, but my grandmother came thru and I have been making them ever since. Every year I experiment with different flavor combinations to figure out which ones worked. But every year I am always partial to the original recipe that Uncle Fred gave me which has the flavors of anise, walnut, and orange zest. Just making those biscotti would make my entire apartment smell like anise. A-Jello use to tell me in college that she could smell the anise before she even walked through our front door. I love those biscotti. They are perfect with a good cup of coffee or an americano, yummy.
Back to Dorie’s recipe. It actually weirded me out a little that there was cornmeal in the recipe, but I wasn’t worried about it too much since there was only 1/2 cup of cornmeal and I used a finer ground. I was surprised at how many of the Tuesdays with Dorie crowd were having trouble with this recipe. But then I remembered the first couple of times that I made biscotti and how weird it was. The stickiness of the dough was always crazy. At first I use to add more flour, now I just put the dough in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight. It makes it A LOT easier to form the logs and you don’t even have to flour your hands :)
I saw that a lot of people were having problems with the dough spreading too much and that the baking time was taking longer. I decided to use the baking time that my Uncle Fred uses and just keep an eye on the biscotti to make sure they weren’t in the oven too long. I actually ended up dividing the dough into three different logs, and I didn’t have any problems with spreading. I baked the biscotti at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes, cooled them for 15 minutes, sliced them up, lowered the oven temperature to 350°F and baked them for another 15 minutes. They turned out perfectly.
I did make a few modifications to the recipe. I only use 1 tsp almond extract and added 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Since I didn’t have sliced almonds on hand I used slivered almonds and they turned out just fine. Also, I added dried cherries to half of the batter for a cherry-almond biscotti. I actually liked the biscotti. They weren’t gritty at all and the flavors were nice, but I thought that they were a little too sweet for me.