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TIERED BISCOTTI TREE

1 1/2 c slivered almonds
3/4 c butter/margarine, at room temperature
1 c sugar
1 T grated orange peel
4 lg eggs
1 ts vanilla
4 1/2 c all-purpose flour
4 1/2 ts baking powder
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts ground cinnamon
1/4 ts ground cloves
1/4 ts ground coriander
1/4 ts ground cinnamon

3/4 c orange marmalade
1 lb sugar, powdered
1 T Grand Marnier or orange juice

Constructed from baked biscotti dough, the cookie tree is an edible
centerpiece.

Place almonds in a 8 to 9 inch pan. Bake in a 350 oven, shaking
often, until golden, about 15 minutes; cool.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and orange peel until fluffy.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in
vanilla. Combine 4-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon,
cloves, coriander, nutmeg and nuts; add to butter mixture and stir
to blend thoroughly.

Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. On a well-floured board, pat
each piece into an evenly thick triangle that measures 9 inches
across base, 2 inches across top and 12 inches on each side. Make
edges neat by pressing with a ruler. Carefully transfer each triangle
with wide spatulas to an oiled 12x15 inch baking sheet. Bake in
a 350~ oven for 15 minutes; triangles can wait for oven space.

Remove from oven; cut crosswise (NOT diagonally) into slices exactly
5/8 inch wide, using a long knife. Tip slices onto a cut side.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes; turn cookies over once
while baking. Cool on reacks. If made ahead, package airtight up
until next day or freeze.

To build the tree, pipe (using a 1/4 inch tip) or spread a little
frosting on 1 side of each of the longest cookies. Lay icing-side
down on a flat platter, tips touching, to form a triangle. Pip or
spread icing down center of each cookie on plate. Stack the 3
next-longest cookies on the first, inverting position of the triangle
(looking down from the top, it will look like a Star of David).
Build tree, using the next-smallest cookie trio for each level and
cementing with icing. If you like, pipe icing to drip over the
edge of the cookies. Decorate top with holly.

Let guests lift off cookies to eat. If made ahead or to protect
from dust, seal in plastic wrap; cookies stay fresh up to 4 days,
depending on moisture in air. Kept longer, they hold their shape
but get stale.

Icing: Smoothly mix together 3/4 cup orange marmalade, 1 box (1
lb) or 4 cups sifted powder and 1 Tablespoon orange-flavor liqueur
or orange juice. If icing thickens as you work, stir in a little
more orange juice.

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