Makes about 25 biscotti, 4 1⁄2 by 1 inches each
Dress these biscotti by dipping them in chocolate and crowning them with a dainty sprig of rosemary or a single silver dragée. If you’re short on time, don’t fret. These cookies are perfectly delicious in their original attire as well.
• 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2 1⁄2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
• 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
• 3⁄8 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted and finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 pounds premium semisweet or white chocolate, tempered, optional
• Silver dragées (sugar beads) or tiny rosemary sprigs, one for each cookie, optional
Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two 15-by-10-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; stir into butter-sugar mixture, blending only until dry ingredients are just incorporated. Stir in chopped almonds, rosemary and vanilla.
On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into two 8-by-3-by-3⁄4-inch rectangular logs. Place one log in center of each cookie sheet and bake until logs are slightly golden around edges, about 30 to 35 minutes. Slide logs immediately onto a cutting board and slice into 3⁄4-inch-thick cross sections. Do not let logs cool more than a few minutes or they will become difficult to cut without cracking. Place slices, cut side down, on cookie sheets and return to oven to bake until light brown and crisp, another 10 to 15 minutes. Immediately transfer biscotti to cooling racks and allow to cool completely before dipping in chocolate or storing.
To decorate cookies, dip one end of each biscotti in tempered semisweet or white chocolate. Place dipped biscotti on parchment-lined cookie sheets and transfer to refrigerator to quickly set chocolate. Remove biscotti from refrigerator and affix a tiny rosemary sprig or one dragée to each cookie using a small drop of melted chocolate.
Make-ahead tips: Biscotti can be made 1 to 2 weeks ahead. They will stay their crispest if stored at room temperature in airtight containers, so if you plan to dip and decorate them, it’s best to do this just before serving. Note: Silver dragées should not be refrigerated or they will lose their sheen and possibly dissolve.
Julia M. Usher is a food writer, recipe developer and food stylist in St. Louis. Contact her by visiting www.HerbCompanion.com/contributors.aspx