This variety has quite a different flavor profile and texture than our regular almond or pecan biscotti. The combination of the honey with the spices and citrus yields a more substantial texture and very complex flavor – warming and wonderful!
The first step is to make some candied orange peels. Of course you could buy them, but they are easy to make, so why not?
QUARESIMALI HONEY ALMOND BISCOTTI
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 lb (1 1/2 cups) toasted almonds, roughly chopped
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup candied orange peals, chopped
- 1 teaspoon (1/2 orange) orange zest
- 1 teaspoon (1/2 lemon) lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 egg for glaze
CANDIED ORANGE PEELS
- 2 to 3 oranges
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Using a potato peeler, peal the rind from 2 or 3 oranges. Place the orange peels in a small pot with 2 or 3 cups of water and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Dump out the water and repeat. Bring it to a boil for a second time and dump out the water. Now measure 1 1/2 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar and boil slowly with the orange peels for 30 to 60 minutes. Ideally, record the temperature using a candy thermometer and stop when the temperature hits about 230F. Then, place the orange slices on a piece of parchment paper, dusted with a light layer of granulated sugar. Sprinkle some additional sugar on top and let air dry for a few hours.
While the orange peels are cooking, you can toast the almonds. Place the almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 350F oven for abut 10 to 15 minutes. Watch them carefully during the last few minutes as they can burn. (I can usually tell when the are done when they start to produce that wonderful almond smell.) After they have cooled, roughly chop the almonds, leaving sizable chunks.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and almonds. Whisk together until fully blended.
In a separate medium bowl, mix the eggs and honey. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Mix at first with a fork and then with your hands. Add the chopped orange peels, orange zest, and lemon zest and continue mixing. It should be firm but remain easy to handle.
Divide the dough in half and form two logs about 14″ x 4″ x 1/2″ in size on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Brush the logs lightly with an egg wash (1 egg white + 1 tablespoon of water, beat well) and pop in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350F until the biscotti becomes a light golden brown hue.
Cool on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes. Then slice at a diagonal angle using a sharp serrated knife into 1″ wide slices. (Some people like thinner slices, but for me, I think a nice piece of biscotti should be something to remember. You only live once – enjoy!) Now place the cut biscotti back on the cookie sheet and bake at 350F for about 7 to 10 minutes on one side. Then flip each piece and return to the oven and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Bake for less time if you like them softer and for longer if you like them crispier.