Sergio's Secret Recipes #3 - Biscotti Secchi Abruzzesi

Unlike their famous cousins in Tuscany, these biscuits are less sweet and not as hard as a rock, so less likely to break your teeth! This recipe calls for considerably less sugar and more eggs than their Tuscan counterpart, plus the “secret ingredient” of grated lemon peel. If you don't like or are intolerant to almonds, they are equally as good made with other ingredients. One of my favourite alternatives is to use grated orange peel and dark chocolate chips!

Delicious to dunk into cappuccino, tea, vin santo or just on their own.

Ingredients (makes approximately 800g)

450g "0" or "00" Plain Flour

200g Castor Sugar

3 Medium Eggs

100g Softened Butter

8g Baking Powder

Grated Peel of 1 Unwaxed Lemon

A few drops of Almond Essence

100g Whole Almonds with skins on - Untoasted

Method

First heat the oven to 180°c or 355°f

In a large bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and then add the softened butter, grated lemon and mix until smooth and creamy. Finally sift the flour together with the baking powder and mix everything with your hands and add the almonds, until it forms a firm dough.

Divide the dough into 5 or 6 pieces and using your hands shape each piece into a long “log”. Each should be about 30cm long and 5cm in diameter. Flatten them slightly and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes in the centre of your oven. Don't cook for any longer, as a second bake is needed and they will crumble if over-baked.

Remove from oven and whilst they are still hot slice each “log” slightly diagonally at 2cm intervals with the sharpest knife you have. It is important to use a sharp knife to get a clean cut through the almonds. Separate the biscuits slightly and return them to the oven for a further 10 minutes or so or until they are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Really simple and absolutely delizioso - buon appetito!