Biscotti With Almonds (Paximadakia) 52.000

Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Sep 4, 2018

These twice-baked Greek cookies are so much like Italian biscotti that the Greeks also call them biscottakia. Growing up in Volos, Greece, Paulette Nehama remembers her home was never without the crispy treat to serve with strong coffee or tea to anyone who stopped by for a visit, which meant a lot of paximadakia had to be made for Jewish holidays.

To heighten the orange flavor, the Bethesda resident replaces the cognac used in her mother’s original recipe for fresh orange juice or Grand Marnier.

To read the accompanying story, see: For this Greek immigrant, Jewish New Year brings back sweet memories — and foods — of home.

Make Ahead: Store the cooled biscotti in an airtight container for up to several days. If they soften, reheat on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until crisped.


Servings:
52 pieces

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 52 pieces

Ingredients
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice or orange liqueur
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • Finely grated zest of a small orange, about 1 tablespoon, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups skin-on, whole raw almonds (may substitute 2 cups walnut halves; see NOTE)

Directions

Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Use cooking oil spray to lightly grease bottom a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.

Combine the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl; use a handheld mixer to beat on low speed, then increase to medium, beating so the mixture is well blended and a little foamy.

In a small bowl, whisk the baking powder into the orange juice or liqueur, stirring so there are no lumps. Pour that mixture into the beaten eggs and sugar; beat on medium speed just until incorporated. With the mixer running, add the flour one-quarter cup at a time, blending it thoroughly before the next addition and stopping to scrape down the bowl, as needed.

Once the dough is smooth, use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir in the zest and vanilla extract, then stir in the nuts a few at a time, making sure they become evenly distributed. Spread the dough evenly in the baking dish, redistributing the nuts as needed (you want them in each piece).

Bake (middle rack) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly colored and soft to the touch, but springy in the center; a tester inserted into the center should come out clean. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake.

Invert the soft-baked biscotti slab onto the wire rack; let cool completely.

Reheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Invert the biscotti slab onto a cutting board (so the original top side is facing up). Cut 1/2-inch-wide slices, starting from a short side. Lay each cut strip down on a flat cut side, then cut in half, producing a total yield of 52 pieces that are about 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inches before they are baked a second time.

The almonds or walnuts should show nicely. Lay the biscotti pieces on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake (middle rack) for 12 minutes until they begin to color, then turn them over and bake for an additional 5 to 8 minutes, until both sides are browned.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, at which point they should be crisp.

NOTE: If you use walnuts, mix them with 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.

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Recipe Source

Adapted by Susan Barocas, from Paulette Nehama of Bethesda. CORRECTION: The cutting directions and yield for the biscotti have been updated in this recipe.

Tested by Susan Barocas.

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