Tis the season for some serious cookie baking! Biscotti (cookies) are enjoyed year round, especially during the holidays. They seem to make an appearance at every gathering from the board room to the lunch room and all the parties in between, not to mention the few set out for the “big guy” on December 24th.
I don’t know who came up with the idea of the “Cookie Exchange Party,” but it’s a fun way to share your favorite recipe and an opportunity to try new ones.
These almond ravioli biscotti are a good choice for an exchange party because they are rather unique and the recipe makes six dozen. The dough is easy to work with, the almond filling is pre-made and they are fun to make.
I need four dozen cookies for the cookie party, which leaves two dozen for me to bring to a dinner party. The hostess loves everything Italian and anything with almond, so this seems like the perfect choice.
- 5 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
- 1/4 cup Crisco
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 (12 1/2-ounce) can almond cake and pastry filling, chilled
- 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- Icing: (optional)
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Placing the can of almond filling in the frig before you start making the dough will make it easier to spoon out the small portions onto the dough.
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, stir to blend. Cut Crisco and butter into dry ingredients.
Make a well into the mixture, add eggs, vanilla and milk. Mix until well blended.
Tear off a chunk of dough, roll into rectangle. I make my almond ravioli about 1 3/4 inches x 1 3/4 inches, which yields 6 dozen cookies.
With a pastry wheel (or a long-bladed knife), lightly mark the dough (but don’t cut all the way through) in the size squares you want. The easiest way to do this is to mark the dough in half, then in half again and so on.
Place a small amount of almond filling in the center of each square on only half of the rectangle.
Fold the other half over the almond-filling-topped dough. Gently press top layer of dough around mounds of filling (stretching it to fit the corners).
With a pastry wheel, cut the dough into squares, then run pastry wheel around the outer edges to trim and seal (or press with your fingers).
Place ravioli on parchment-lined baking sheet, about an inch apart. If you’re not using icing, (which I did not on this batch) gently press toasted, sliced almonds into each cookie.
If you are using icing, (which adds a delightful extra kiss of sweet almond flavor) place almond slices on immediately after icing so they will stick.
Bake in a 350* oven 10-12 minutes.
The tops of the cookies will have barely turned color, but they will be golden on the bottom.
I have an opera cookie tin (originally came with chocolates) that I lined with a red and white checked napkin. I think it makes a thoughtful hostess gift.