We have the incredible good fortune to be spending weekends together in Santa Barbara until the snow melts and it turns toward spring in Santa Fe. Here is my recipe for biscotti, adapted years ago from the Cantucci di Prato recipe that appeared in the Il Fornaio Baking Book. I call them Ojai Biscotti because of the aroma the orange zest emits when they are first baked.
2 1/2 cups unbleached
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole raw almonds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
In a large mixing bowl, stir
together the almonds, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and
butter. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, and orange zest and
lightly beat with a whisk until blended. Add the egg mixture to the flour
mixture and beat until a granular dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for one minute. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Using the palms of your hands, roll each portion into a log about 12 inches long and one inch in diameter.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it with butter. Place the logs crosswise on the baking sheet, spacing them about two inches apart. Using the palm of one hand, lightly flatten the top of each log until it is about ½-inch thick. Bake the logs in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet until they can be handled, about 10 minutes. Leave the oven set at 350°F.
Transfer the logs to a cutting board and cut them crosswise on the diagonal into pieces ½-inch wide. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it with butter. Arrange the pieces cut sides down on the two baking sheets. Return the cookies to the oven and bake until they are lightly toasted and the edges are golden brown, 10 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheets before serving. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to two weeks.