After posting my "Biscotti (Attempt #3) entry", my friend e-mailed me to say her (directly-off-the-boat-Italian) mother had a fantastic quaresimali recipe that she could give to me if I wanted to try it out. Well, of course I did! How could I not! The recipe looked very promising, and I was super excited about it because it included CLOVES! Cloves are one of my favorite spices, they remind me of Christmas and German mulled wine. I can tell that Mike's Pastry biscotti have some cloves in them so this recipe looked like it could be the one that came closest to the ever elusive North End secret.
I followed the recipe ingredients exactly, adding not one, not two, not three, but four cups of chopped toasted almonds! Thank God Trader Joe's has good prices on nuts! I added the cloves (I ground them myself) and the dough already tasted delicious. I did veer from the recipe a bit when it came to forming the rolls of dough. Instead of 4 rolls, I made 2 rolls that were probably longer and wider than the recipe intended but I didn't think this would change the cook time since I kept the height of the rolls the same. I baked them and then cut them and then baked them again. We barely could wait for them to cool before we tried them out. They were delicious. I very much want to share the recipe with everyone but I want to get permission first since it's a family recipe.
These biscotti/quaresimali tasted and looked the most like Mike's that I've made so far. There are delicious and the recipe really needs no changes to it but since I am now officially obsessed with exactly replicating the Mike's biscotti I am going to try three changes.
One-I am going to substitute one regular cup of flour with a cup of almond meal.
Two-Instead of 4 cups of almonds I'm going to use 3.
Three- I'm going to add a bit of ginger.
I think these changes may bring me as close to Mike's as I can get. Once/if I get permission, I will post the recipe because, like I said, it's incredibly delicious and everyone who tried them (including my 90 yr old Polish grandmother) loved them. Rumor has it that Bob (the baker of the Reine de Saba cake) is attempting to make them for his office on Monday!
....And I got permission....
4 CUPS ALMONDS (CUT IN HALF AND LIGHTLY TOASTED)
1 CUP OF SUGAR
1 CUP OF BROWN SUGAR
1/2 CUP OF OIL
2 TSP CINNAMON
1 TSP CLOVES
2 TBSP WATER
3 CUPS OF FLOUR
2 TSP BAKING POWDER
Lightly toast the almonds. While they are toasting, mix the rest of the ingredients in mixing bowl. When ingredients are mixed well, add the almonds. It will seem like a lot of almonds, but the dough will rise and encompass the almonds. Shape the dough into 4 rolls. Flatten the rolls slightly (into about 3/4" high). Put them on a floured baking sheet. Brush the tops with egg yolk. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees. If you want more crunchy cookies, cut them into biscotti, lay them on their side and lightly toast them.