I'm not much of a cookbook person. I get all my recipes either from the worldwide web, or my mother. Or people at potlucks. Cookbooks just aren't my thing...unless they have pretty pictures in them. Those I could make an exception for. Like the Cookies for Kids Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook. I won it from a giveaway on Hilary's blog, and received it in the mail two days ago. It had loads of pretty pictures.
I started flipping through the pages right away, looking for something to bake. I finally settled on this biscotti recipe, developed by a lady by the name of Fraya. Fraya Berg (I totally did the James Bond voice in my head when I typed that out). I'm not too big a fan of biscotti, but a) the picture was pretty b) I knew my parents would love it with their coffee c) anything famous must be good and d) it was the only recipe that didn't involve at least half a pound of butter. Mostly d.
After shaping, baking, slicing, and listening to my mother's horrible advice to lay the biscotti on their side for their second baking, I was finally able to dip one of these babies in a glass of cold milk, and pray that my teeth didn't break when I bit into it. The good news? My teeth didn't break. The bad news? There was WAY too many almonds! Even my mom said so. And she's Algerian. If an Algerian has an issue with the amount of almonds, you know there's a problem.
But aside from the abnormal amount of almonds, the biscotti wasn't actually half bad. The flavor was great (you know the parts where I could actually taste the flavor and not the almonds), and the texture was on point. And minus some extra golden brown-ness, it looked exactly like the one pictured in the book, which for me, is quite an achievement, because I can't think of the last time I made something from a cookbook and it came out looking the same. Come to think about it, that's probably why I don't like cookbooks very much.
Fraya Berg's Famous BiscottiIngredients:1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature2 cups granulated sugar4 large eggs, at room temperature1 tablespoon anise seed1 teaspoon vanilla extract4 cups all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/8 teaspoon salt1 pound whole almondsDirections:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with a non-stick cooking spray.Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, anise seed, and vanilla, one at a time, beating after each addition.With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add the almonds and mix until just incorporated (it's okay if some of them break).Using cold, wet hands, form the dough into 8 balls and then shape each ball into a 10-inch log about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Place the logs on the prepared cookie sheets about 3 inches apart. Transfer to the oven and bake until just golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool 10 minutes.Transfer the cooked logs to a cutting board, and using a very sharp straight-edged knife, slice the logs on a slight diagonal, about 1/3 inch thick. Place the slices on unlined baking sheets and bake until just golden and dry to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes.Cool completely. Store in resealable plastic bags or airtight containers at room temperature for 3-4 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.