Today's column features two Italian cookies, as requested by readers.
Virginia Martin had lost a favourite biscotti recipe that was from a Winnipeg Hydro holiday booklet. Instead of the dough being formed into a log, it is pressed into a square pan, brushed with egg white, sprinkled with sugar and baked. It is then cut into slices and baked again. Other readers who had saved it wrote that is originally from a 2000 Lights of the Season Winnipeg Hydro booklet. Thanks to everyone who replied: Garry Sowa, Joann Wensel, Darlene McIntosh, Esther Leven, Florence Bouchard, Heather Diebert, Ellen Bruce, Jocelyn Vann, Gerri McCullough, Linda Snider of Glenboro, Dean Britton of Lorette, and one anonymous reader.
Tyler Anderson had sampled an almond-flavoured cookie with almond bits in the dough, a soft centre, a whole almond pressed in the top and dusted with icing sugar. He had asked for readers' help to find a recipe for them. Thanks to Lisa Bell, who thinks she has just the recipe he is looking for with the recipe for amaretti that follows. This is a flourless recipe, so it may be an option for those looking for gluten-free recipes. Thanks again to Linda Snider of Glenboro for her recipe.
New requests to fill: Linden Albertson of Gimli has misplaced a recipe clipped from the Free Press about 25 years ago. It is for an apple slice made in a very large pan, and was in a feature on cooking for a crowd. The crust contained flour and graham-cracker crumbs and the top was drizzled with a thin icing. Did anyone else happen to save this particular recipe?
Secondly, LeeAnn Knutson writes that she received a stand mixer as a gift and plans to buy the ice cream-making attachment. She is looking for tried-and-true recipes and would appreciate a recipe for "real" ice cream made with cream, as well as a frozen yogurt recipe and a great-tasting sherbet.
If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Darlene Henderson, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number. Recipes may not appear right away due to limited space.
Orange hazelnut biscotti bars
60 ml (1/4 cup) chopped hazelnuts (filberts), toasted
375 ml (11/2 cups) all purpose flour
10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
160 ml (2..3 cup) granulated sugar, divided
1 egg white
80 ml (1..3 cup) butter, melted
30 ml (2 tbsp) grated orange rind
10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla
1 egg white, lightly beaten
To toast hazelnuts: spread nuts on cookie sheet. Bake at 175 C (350 F) for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir occasionally.
In large bowl, combine flour, hazelnuts and baking powder. Set aside. Reserve 5 ml (1 tsp) sugar. Set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together remaining sugar, 1 egg white, egg, melted butter, orange rind and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture. Pat dough with floured hands into greased 22-cm (9-inch) square baking pan. Brush with beaten egg white. Sprinkle with reserved sugar. Bake at 175 C (350 F) for 30 minutes. Cut into 32 bars. Place bars on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until crisp and golden. Yield 32 bars.
Dry, crisp biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
Taste Tester Notes: Biscotti are meant to be dry and crisp, and these come alive once dipped in espresso or strong coffee. The orange, hazelnut and coffee is a nice combination. Once you have toasted the hazelnuts, place them in a dish towel and rub, and most of the skins will easily slip off. After the first baking, cut into the dough into 16 strips, each 1..2-inch wide, and then cut down the centre of the pan to make 32 bars.
675 g (11..2 lbs) blanched almonds, finely ground
500 ml (2 cups) granulated sugar
22 ml (11..2 tbsp) cocoa
45 ml (3 tbsp) pure almond extract
Additional granulated sugar for rolling (or icing sugar for dusting)
Whole natural almonds
Position oven racks so that one rack is at the bottom of the oven and the other rack is in the middle of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F).
In a large bowl combine ground almonds, sugar and cocoa. In another bowl lightly whisk eggs and stir in almond extract. Add egg mixture into almond mixture until well combined.
Using a tablespoon or your hands, scoop out enough of the almond mixture to form 11..2-inch balls. Roll each ball in the additional granulated sugar and place on cookie sheets. (Alternatively, do not roll in sugar but dust cookies with icing sugar after they are baked and cooled). Garnish each cookie by lightly pressing a whole almond in the centre.
Bake cookies on the lower rack for 10 minutes, then move to the middle rack and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. (If you did not roll the cookies in granulated sugar before baking, use a fine sieve to dust cooled cookies with icing sugar). Once cooled you can store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container. Cookies will keep for up 10 days.
Taste Tester Notes: These wonderful little cookies are bursting with delightful almond flavour. I used slivered, blanched almonds that I toasted first by spreading on a large cookie sheet and placing them for a few minutes in a 175 C (350 F) oven. (Watch carefully to make sure they don't burn). I processed the cooled almonds in a food processor until fine. Rolling them in granulated sugar before baking gives them a crackled appearance. After baking, gently press the whole almonds in again (while cookies are still hot) if they have risen up. The centre of the cookie may look underdone, but does not require any additional baking time, and will firm up as it cools. Once cooled, the cookies will be dry on the outside and have a slightly soft, chewy centre. This made 4 dozen cookies.