One of the best things about moving as much as we do is treating each new place that we live like we are on vacation there. Since we know that we have limited time in each place my husband and I vowed that we would make the most of what the place has to offer. Living in Sacramento is a dream because we are so close to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, San Fransisco and Napa Valley. It is a food lovers paradise. A new tradition that I have started with myself is to buy cookbooks from restaurants that I have visited. I like to buy the book at the actual location (not a bookstore) and write when I was there, who I was there with, and why on the inside cover. This recipe comes from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.
Last January my grandmother and friend Carrie made the trip to San Fran to try the world famous Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken. It is in fact the best chicken that I have ever had in my entire life and I know what you are thinking. Who cares about roast chicken? You would if you have ever eaten this amazing, perfect, divine creation. Anyway, during that lively brunch (we went with a pregnant friend who was driving and my grandmother and I had a few a lot of mimosas while waiting for our chicken to cook. It takes an hour) I fell in love with the biscotti that Zuni makes. I happen to love biscotti and order it pretty much any time I see it on a menu or in a coffee shop. A great deal of the time I am disappointed. This is exactly what I want in a biscotti. Not too sweet, full of flavor, and crunchy, but not dog biscuit hard.
I always double the original recipe. I am including the recipe straight from the book.
3/4 cup hazelnuts or almonds
4 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 large cold egg
1 1/2 teaspoons anisette
1 1/4 cups flour
2 Tablespoon cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roast the nuts on a baking sheet until they are fragrant and beginning to color. (If using hazelnuts, gather them in a towel, rub to remove some of the skin and pick out the nuts.) Finely chop 1/4 cup of the nuts, coarsely chop the remainder.
Barely cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg and anisette.
In a separate bowl, combine the nuts, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and anise seeds. Add to the butter mixture.
Divide the dough in half. Roll the dough into logs. Add a little flour to the counter if the dough starts to stick.
Put the logs on a baking sheet and leave space between them. They will spread considerably. Bake until slightly brown and firm on the surface. About 15 to 20 minutes. Rotate the pan if they are not browning evenly. Do not underbake.
Slice the cookies on an angle with a serrated knife. Put them back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until lightly brown.
Let them cool on a rack and store in an airtight container. These keep really well and taste even better a few days later. I was making these to send to someone and wanted to fancy them up a little so I dipped some of them in white chocolate.
If you happen to have a huge cheerleader in your corner and you know that you have a delivery system in place, make these for a friend and hopefully she will share some biscotti with you.