Biscotti used to be one of those baked goods that were so intimidating I never even contemplated making it, kind of like cannoli, petit fours, or macaroons. I'm not sure why I finally tried it, but it is surprisingly easy to make, very tasty, and much cheaper than anything you can buy in stores or coffee shops. (Also, dipped in chocolate, they make very impressive Christmas gifts for people.)
I regularly make this biscotti at our house because Nathan likes to have something small to eat in the mornings while he drinks his coffee. And there's nothing better suited to coffee dipping than biscotti. This recipe is very easy to tweak. Sometimes I add pecans and chopped dried apricots, sometimes lemon zest and pistachios, occasionally dried cranberries, walnuts, or almonds. For a very special treat, dip plain ones halfway in melted dark chocolate. (One bag of dark chocolate chips should cover a whole batch of biscotti with very little leftover.)
I am sure I originally found this recipe online, but it's been a few years, and now I can't find it again to give proper credit. I've tweaked it a bit too. This is the base recipe, but you can add any of the ingredients I mention above, just throw those extra ingredients in at the end before you form the dough into logs (except the zest, put that in around the same time as the eggs).
(Don't forget: T=tablespoons, t=teaspoons)
3 1/4 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/3 t. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
10 T. melted unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
3 large eggs
2 T. vanilla extract (make sure it's pure, not imitation)
1/2 t. almond extract (don't increase this amount or it will taste bitter)
Sift the flour, b. powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter, extracts, and eggs together in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients to large bowl gently, blending gradually. Optional: Mix in 1 c. almonds,other nuts, or dried fruit.
Form two logs, one per biscotti pan. Bake in 350º oven until golden, about 40 minutes. Cool logs. Cut diagonally with sharp knife. Return biscotti slices back to oven on cookie sheet for 12 minutes or until lightly toasted. Turn over and toast for 8 minutes on remaining side.
See? It's actually pretty easy; the most time consuming part is the baking time, but I've started these at 9 pm before and still headed to bed at 11, no sweat. You can see why I have two biscotti pans; it certainly cuts down on the baking time. You can bake one log at a time if you only have one pan. You can even bake the loaves on cookie sheets, but I've found that the dough spreads too much if it doesn't have the sides of the pan to stop it. Not really a problem exactly, it just means your individual biscotti slices will be very long and thin and everything will take less time to bake.