Almond Biscotti

Makes 24 cookies
Adapted from Gourmet

1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
3 tablespoons brandy
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole almonds with skin, lightly toasted
3 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, butter, brandy, and extracts.  Add eggs and mix to combine, then add the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.  Mix in almonds.  Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes.

While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350 F.

Wet your hands and shape dough into 2 4-by-10-inch logs on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until pale golden, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer logs to a rack and cool for 20 minutes.

Using a very sharp, serrated knife, cut logs into 3/4 inch slices and arrange on a clean baking sheet, cut side down.  Bake biscotti until golden, about 25 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

If desired, you can dip some (or all) of the biscotti in melted chocolate.  Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals.  Cool slightly, it should be warm but not hot.  Dip the bottom or each biscotti in chocolate and place, chocolate side up, on a wire rack until chocolate sets.

Store biscotti in an airtight container at room temperature.