Almond biscotti (quaresimali)

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In Italian, "biscotti" means "twice cooked," as are these cookies, first in a loaf form, then in individual slices. Quaresimali is derived from Quaresima, Italian for Lent, when these lean cookies traditionally would have been served. 2 1/2 cups (11 ounces) flour 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 2 cups, plus 1 tablespoon (15 ounces) sugar 4 large eggs ( 3/4 cup) 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract 15 ounces whole almonds with their skins 1 egg (for egg wash)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together flour and cinnamon and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat together sugar, eggs and salt until thickened and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Add flour-cinnamon mixture along with the vanilla to the bowl. Mix just until a dough is formed. Stir in almonds and mix just until they are integrated.

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2. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces; roll each piece into a loaf about 3 inches wide, 2 inches high and 10 inches long. Put on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpats. 3. Beat egg with fork and brush onto loaves using a pastry brush. Bake until loaves are set and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool loaves (on sheets) for about 5 minutes. Then, using a serrated knife, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices.

4. Arrange slices, cut-side up, on a cooking sheet and bake again until they start to color, about 10 minutes. Turn cookies over and bake 10 minutes longer. (If you have a shallow wire rack that fits into your baking sheet, bake cookies on rack without turning, about 15 minutes. ) Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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