It started with biscotti
From hammer to whisk: No regrets as hobby morphs into bakery
Labor of love: Long a hobby baker, Larry Blanas and his wife, Vicky, ignored naysayers' warnings of shaky economic times and cupcake competition, and launched his dream in Wilmette. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)
Bake: 29 minutes
Makes: About 24 pieces
Note: This recipe from Larry Blanas produces a sticky dough. He suggests rolling it around on a floured board before shaping into logs. You could try wetting your hands with cold water; an offset spatula also works well in spreading the dough.
2 extra large eggs
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup almond slices, toasted
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, sugar and salt In a bowl; beat on high until light in color and doubled in volume, about 2 minutes. Slowly add canola oil and extract. Continue mixing on high speed, 1 minute.
2. Sift together flour and baking powder; add to liquid mixture. Beat on medium-high speed until incorporated. Fold in almonds, mixing until well-combined.
3. Divide dough in half. Place each half on a parchment-lined (or silicone pad-lined) cookie sheet. Shape each half into a log, 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick, 4 inches wide and 14-16 inches long. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
4. With a serrated knife, slice logs on a diagonal in 1-inch wide slices while still on the cookie sheet. (If using silicone pads, carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board for slicing.) Return to oven. Bake until crisp and golden, 9-10 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to one month.
Per cookie: 140 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 19 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 79 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
Experiment with fruitcake ingredients (glaceed fruits or nuts, such as pistachios or hazelnuts), currants, toasted seeds, chopped dried fruits (cranberries or dates).
Try spice combinations such as those used for pumpkin pie or fruit-flavored liqueurs, such as anise or orange.
Dip one end or tip of cooled biscotti into melted chocolate (white or dark) blended with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Let them dry on a rack or parchment paper until chocolate sets.