Tastes of the Old Country Here

Bribed with biscotti

Finding a hairstylist in a new city can be like trying to break into a secret society.  While looking, a friend suggested I go see her guy.  He is a kind, older gentleman from Italy who owns a salon with his daughter in a very well to-do neighborhood in D.C. Wanting to endear myself to him and be one of those clients that actually can make an appointment without the month long wait, I decided to make this stylist some biscotti.  I was nervous to see if he would like them since I didn’t have time to toast them in the oven for a second time.  Turns out he loved them.  He called me on my cell the next day and asked for the recipe for his wife.

I miss this stylist dearly. He is very funny and always has great stories.  Finding a new one in Boston has been tough.  But maybe with some luck and biscotti, I can find one.


1/2 cup of sliced almonds

1/3 cup (or 5 1/3 tablespoons) of butter at room temperature 

3/4 cups of sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of almond extract

1 teaspoon fresh grated orange zest

2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour 

1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dried cranberries 

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Toast almonds at 325 degrees for about 8 minutes.  You will be able to smell the almonds as they toast. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.

Combine 1/3 cup of butter and 3/4 cup of sugar until it is light.

Beat in 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, add 1 tsp of orange zest

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (sift if lumpy) of 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

Combine wet and dry ingredients.  Fold in 1/2 cup toasted almonds and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Your dough shouldn’t be sticky.  If it is, then add little more flour.

Divide batter in two.  Form 2 logs on a greased baking sheet.  Pat down to about 1 1/2 inch wide and 1/2 inch tall (about your index finger)

Bake at 325 degrees F for about 25 minutes.  Cool and slice.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lie cookies on their sides.  Return sheet to oven for 5 minutes.

If you’re feeling really crazy, dip one end of the cookie into melted chocolate and place on wax paper to harden.  There are lots of variations to this recipe.  You can add chopped dried apricots and pistachios with white chocolate drizzle.

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