If I have to choose between chocolate and vanilla, I will always choose vanilla. These delicate little biscotti get a double dose from a vanilla bean and vanilla extract. The smell was intoxicating while the cookies were in my oven, and many disappeared before the second baking. We couldn't wait to get our hands on them! This recipe is from the New York Times magazine; a serving suggestion to the fruit and herb iced teas featured in the article. The dough was very sticky and working with it at room temperature was practically impossible. To remedy this, I spooned out the 3 logs onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and placed the sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes (no longer). At that point I was able to take a long metal spatula and press them into shape, easily.
adapted from the Sunday New York Times, May 1993
• 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2 eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 cups unbleached flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 cups blanched slivered almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Position rack in center of the oven. With a small knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and place in a small bowl. Add the sugar and mix to distribute evenly. Set aside. With an electric mixer, cream the butter until light. Add the vanilla sugar and mix until fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and almonds and stir into the butter mixture.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 3 lengths onto the parchment. You will want the logs to be approximately 1 1/4-inches in diameter. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove and use a long flat knife or a metal spatula to flatten and shape each piece of dough. They will roughly be 12-inches by 1 1/4-inches. Try to space them as far apart as possible since they will spread while baking. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
3. Place the logs on a cutting board and let them cool slightly. With a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces. Place on the baking sheet, cut side down. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes, turning them once. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.