Most biscotti are pretty flexible with adaptations - for these, we went with all-purpose flour, cut with a bit of whole-wheat pastry flour, and ground almonds for a hint of nuttiness. While you could use already ground cardamom, you might want to up the amount as it tends to be less intense than freshly ground. We ground our cardamom fresh for the most gusto, taking the tiny seeds out of their green shells and crushing them with our mortar and pestle.
With a little baking powder for lift and salt to balance the sweetness, granulated sugar joins the dry mixture and the whole shebang is simply brought together with a couple eggs and a heavy splash of vanilla.
Shaped into a log (try to use as little extra flour as possible), the dough is placed on the baking sheet and gently flattened to help the biscotti spread evenly as it bakes. Interestingly enough, instead of coating the dough with a beaten egg white and sugar before baking, this recipe calls for taking the loaf out more than halfway through baking to be coated then. Why? I'm not all that sure, but I followed along and it seemed to work out well.
I didn't want to fudge with the sugar-y crust that had been created on the loaf by spritzing it with water as we typically do with biscotti, so I skipped that process this time. While I don't think it suffered much, the loaf did crumble slightly more than it would have if we had softened the outside.
This biscotti is made without any butter or oils in the tacky dough, making for an extremly crisp and crunchy cookie. Softer versions with added fat do have their place, but I tend to reach for this kind. I'm not really one for dunking, but I could see the aromatic cardamom in these pairing well with your favorite brew, tea or maybe even a cup of decadent hot chocolate. If you wanted to go all fancy, I think a dip or drizzle of melted white chocolate would be fun - dark chocolate may be a bit overpowering here. Lovely by their mildly-spiced selves, we did find them particularly enjoyable crumbled over a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream!
Back to my comment about Jeff's surgery. Some people knew, but most reading this probably didn't. He had surgery last Friday to replace a disc in his neck (anterior cervical discectomy and fusion to be specific) - we stayed at the hospital for a night and came home Saturday. The surgery was successful and he is spending most of his time resting to heal - it will take 3 to 6 weeks for it to settle down and he is given clearance to go back to work. Since they went in through the front of his neck for this type of surgery (I'll spare you his wound picture... he is having fun showing it off - be aware if you click that!), he is restricted to soft foods and liquids. Posts may be fairly slow until he has his appetite back and can eat as usual.
If we're not back to posting before the holiday hits, Merry Christmas!