Biscotti alle Mandorle
Italians are fond of celebrating with homemade cookies, especially almond-flavoured. Baptisms, communions, graduations and wedding showers wouldn’t be the same without them. More than just a tasty treat at the end of a huge meal, preparing cookies is a chance for the whole family to come together. Moms, aunts, and grandmothers work together shelling almonds and catching up on family news.
This weekend, I was lucky enough to be a part of my cousin’s child’s first communion. As a result, my aunt and other relatives made several batches of their best cookies to celebrate. We were all full after dinner, so the cookies were sent home in individual packets with guests.
The following almond cookie recipe is for a slightly crispy almond cookie with a chewy interior, which pairs nicely with a espresso or a glass of almond liqueur. Mostly, I like them because they use only a few, simple ingredients: ground almonds, eggs and sugar. Perfect for your gluten free friends and family.
*Chef’s tip* In this recipe, the skin is kept on the almonds, for flavour and colour. If you wish to shell your own almonds, don’t over grind them, as the processor will bring out the almond’s oil and make for a moister batter. The secret is to grind small batches of almonds at a time and refrigerate almonds beforehand. My aunt’s almonds are of a thicker consistency than the almond meal available at the grocery store. The finer almonds makes for a denser cookie that is equally as flavourful.
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup (185 mL)granulated sugar
- 2 3/4 cup (685 mL) ground almonds
Almond and Sugar topping:
- 1 cup (250 mL) coarsely ground almonds
- 3 Tbsps (45 mL) granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C)
- THE BATTER: In a bowl, using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, beat together the eggs and sugar for about 1 or 2 minutes or until pale and sugar is dissolved. Gradually add the ground almonds to the egg batter until combined and soft dough is formed.
- THE ALMOND-SUGAR TOPPING: In a separate bowl, blend coarsely ground almonds and sugar
- Using well-greased hands, shape approximately 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the batter into logs.
- Roll each log into the almond and sugar topping. Place onto a greased baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) between cookies.
- Bake on the middle rack at 350F (175C) for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the bottoms and edges of the cookies are golden brown.
- Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in a cookie tin to keep them crisp for up to one week.