Here is a new version of Almondina-like biscotti (for a version with apricots, craisins, pistachios, and almonds, see here). This version is flavored with pumpkin pie spices (nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon).
I used powdered egg white powder to make these, so I did not have leftover egg yolks. But, if I did, I would so want to make the recipe from the November Bon Appetit for Spiced Brandy Semifreddo with Cranberries. The recipe says that this frozen white chocolate mousse, flavored with rum, brandy, and nutmeg, should be served with a crisp cookie or biscotti. Perfect!
Commenter Carrie Feinstein says she has made a version with a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, but thought it could use more. I made my own spice mix based on a recipe from AllRecipes and from Baking Obsession’s pumpkin cake. Vera (Baking Obsession) used almost the same spice mix as the AllRecipes version, but much heavier on the cinnamon (1 1/2 teaspoons instead of 1 teaspoon0. I split the difference by using 1 1/4 teaspoons and the flavor was wonderful, but even more cinnamon might be even better.
Pumpkin Spice Craisin Mandelbread Thins
Stir together in a small bowl and set aside:
1 cup all-purpose flour [note: 4.25 - 4.5 ounces]
1 – 1 ½ tsp cinnamon [I used 1 1/4 teaspoons, but 1 1/2 teaspoons would be even better I think]
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
Beat egg whites until frothy on medium speed, add the salt, increase the speed to medium high and then gradually add the sugar, beating until the whites are stiff and glossy:
• 4 large egg whites, at room temperature [or 2 Tbl. and 2 tsp. Just Whites powder and 1/4 cup warm water, whisked together per package instructions]
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ cup fine granulated sugar (note: about 3.75 ounces)
Gently fold in the flour mixture. Then fold in:
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (2.75 ounces)
1 cup whole almonds (4.75 ounces)
½ cup dried cranberries (“craisins”) (about 2 ounces)
Spread the batter gently and in a loaf pan (8″x4″ or, even better 8″x12″ “pullman loaf pan”) lined with parchment (ungreased!).
Bake the loaf in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. The top of the cake will be lightly golden and a cake tester will come out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, unmold, and then cool completely. Refrigerate overnight. This is pretty critical to the final texture and ease of slicing.
[although, I actually sliced the loaf for these cookies while it was still warm--something I never tried before. Oddly enough, I had a very easy time slicing the cookies. So, apparently it is possible to violate the chill overnight rule and still make good cookies. I think that making the loaf thinner by spread the batter in a longer pan makes it easier to cut the cookies because you have less thickness to push the knife through. Incidentally, a bread knife or other long serrated knife is best for this chore. Supposedly, an offset serrated knife is ideal.]
Cut the chilled loaf into 1/8-inch” slices. Place the slices on two parchment-lined baking sheets.
Dry out the slices at 200 degrees for 40-60 minutes. You are looking for crispness, not browning. To facilitate even drying out, flip the slices over through half of the baking time. You can let the slices cool in the turn-off the oven.
If you want to get the golden brown color and carmelized flavor of Almondinas, you will need to toast these in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Watch the cookies like a hawk! Some will get brown before the others and you will need to pull out the cookies sheet and take these off so that the remaining cookies can get golden. If you are not vigilant, some cookies will overbrown while others remain pale.
Letting the cookies dry out in a 200 degree oven sacrifices some of the color and flavor of real Almondinas, but is pretty fool-proof in that you cannot overbrown them.