Every time we have moved, our neighbors have welcomed us with generous gifts of food and friendship. I still remember the hand-drawn neighborhood map (complete with the names of family members and pets) that the little girl who lived next door made for us when we moved into our house in Maine, and the thoughtful meals one of our neighbors here prepared for S when he was moving in before I arrived.
Now it’s our turn to be the oldtimers, welcoming new neighbors onto our street. Unsure of what to do, I considered several options before settling on one of my old stand-bys, biscotti.
The biscotti recipe that I like best these days is the Orange-Almond Biscotti from The Best Recipe cookbook. It’s a pretty typical recipe, but, as the cookbook authors explain “The addition of a small amount of butter produces a richer, more cookielike texture.” The note also suggests that you can substitute hazelnuts for the almonds in the recipe.
Biscotti start out like many other cookies: 4 Tbs butter and 1 Cup of sugar are creamed until fluffy, and other wet ingredients and flavorings (2 eggs, 1/2 Tsp vanilla and 1/4 Tsp almond extracts, 2 Tbs orange zest and 3/4 Cup toasted chopped nuts) are added and mixed in.
Dry ingredients (2 Cups flour, 1/4 Tsp salt and 1 Tsp baking powder)
are whisked together and folded into the wet mixture until the dough is just mixed.
It’s at this point that biscotti recipes begin to feel different from other cookie recipes.
Once the dough has come together, it is removed from the bowl and divided into two portions. Each portion is shaped into a long, flat log and laid out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
The logs are baked (at 350 degrees) until they are golden brown and beginning to crack on top. They are then removed from the oven and allowed to cool for about ten minutes before being sliced into thin cookies.
The cookies are returned to the oven and baked again for about fifteen minutes, this time at 325 degrees.
After cooling they are ready to eat
or package for your new neighbors!