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ALMOND BISCOTTI

1 c sugar
1/2 c butter, melted
3 T brandy
1 ts vanilla
1 ts almond extract
1 c almonds, chopped
3 eggs
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 T baking powder
1/4 ts salt

Preheat oven to 350. Mix sugar with butter, brandy, vanilla, almond
extract, nuts and eggs. Mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder
and salt. Form into a long loaf (or loaves), place on a cookie
sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until firm and softly cakelike.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle,
slice into 1/2 inch diagonal slices and return to cookie sheet.
Bake for 15-25 miutes, turning once, until both sides are brown-flecked
and toasted. Cool thoroughly and store in an airtight jar. Makes
2-3 dozen.

Variations:

Mandlebrot: increase sugar to 1-1/4 cups. Diced dried apricots
may by added.

For a clasic anise-flavored biscotto, substitute Pernod, Ouzo or
Anisette for the brandy and omit the almond extract. Several
tablespoons of anise seeds may be added for additional oomph.

Hazelnut biscotti: use hazelnuts in place of almonds. A hazelnut
liqueur may be used instead of brandy. Omit the almond extract.

Mediterranean biscotti: use rosewater instead of brandy. Substitute
unsalted pistachio nuts for the almonds, and add 1/4 - 1/2 cup
diced figs to the dough.

Ginger-flavored biscotti: to the basic dough, add 1 Tbsp powdered
ginger, a generous dash of cloves and cinnamon, 1 or 2 Tbsp of
candied ginger and 1/4 cup raisins, if desired. Omit the almond
extract.

Paximatha: This Greek rusk dates back to the 5th century, virtually
unchanged. Substiture 1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted sesame seeds for the
almonds. Omit the almond extact and flavor the dough with 1 tsp
cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cloves.

Fekkas: A Moroccon twice-baked cookie. Substitute orange flower
water for the brandy.

Pine nuts may be used instead of almonds, though the richness may
be less desirable than the crunch of the toasted almonds. Candied
fruits, too, may be added, 1/4 to 1/2 cup assorted fruits blended
into the dough before baking.

Chocolate Dipped: melt 1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate in the top
of a double boiler over just simmering water. If it "seizes" or
"tightens", add 2 Tbsp of unsalted buter and it should smooth out
again. Dip only one side of each cookie (the chocolate won't seal
in the moisture that way).

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