Almonds have been a staple of Italian cooking for millennia. It is no accident that almonds have been praised in great literature.
When the beautiful white almond blossoms burst forth it is a sign of winter’s passing and the coming of spring. The ancient Romans would sometimes eat green almonds before the shells would harden. The Romans showered newlyweds with almonds as a fertility charm. Today, it is a custom to give guests at weddings a bag of sugared almonds, representing children, happiness, romance, good health and fortune. The coating may be silver, gold, or colors that coordinate with the wedding party. Almonds were praised by Boccaccio in his Decameron
There are actually two types of almond trees. There is the sweet and edible almond and the bitter almond. The bitter almond is used to make almond flavoring, but is poisonous if not processed prior to eating. I often wonder who the brave soul was that discovered how to process these almonds. Almond oil has been used in lotions, creams, and powders for thousands of years. The bitter almond was used as a poison as early as 400 BC.
These biscotti capture the luscious essence of almonds and make for a perfect accompaniment to espresso.
- ½ cup butter, unsalted
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup almonds, finely chopped
- In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt, setting aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
- Beat in the honey, egg, and almond extract, blending well after each addition.
- Blend in the chopped almonds.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter one cup at a time.
- Chill the batter for at least 1 hour.
- Form the batter into 1” balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake at 325F for 10-15 minutes, or until just firm.