Takako Nomi is an entrepreneur extraordinaire and an exceptional baker. She's one of those people (like my grandmother, Nona) who does not rely on cookbooks. She intuits the correct measurements and methods when baking. And the results are always delicious. With pen in hand, for those of us who need concrete measurements, I was able to capture her irresistible biscotti recipe.
1/2 pound of soft, room temperature butter
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
4 cups of chopped walnuts
Ninja Baker Note: Sometimes I substitute almond extract for the vanilla essence and slivered almonds for chopped walnuts. I also use a ½ cup plus of almond flour to the 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix butter, sugar, baking powder and vanilla until thoroughly combined. (Takako-san likes to use a oshamoji - the paddle used to scoop Japanese rice into little bowls. I have her blessing, however, to use my KitchenAid mixer.)
Add eggs. One at a time.
Mix in the flour. The goal is for the mixture not to stick to the sides of the bowl. In other words, keep sprinkling flour onto the dough until the mixture is one big ball.
Chop up 4 cups of walnuts (or slivered almonds if making the Ninja Baker variation.)
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. (Takako-san uses Pam cooking spray.)
To shape the biscotti, use plastic gloves and/or well-floured hands. Form dough into balls (large baseball-size or onigiri-size - Japanese rice balls) Squeeze in the nuts. Shape the balls into rectangles.
Bake for 30 to 32 minutes. Let them rest for about 3 to 5 minutes. Move them about the tray - gently. Cool for another 5 minutes. Cut into the mini rectangles on the diagonal. Head of the knife in first.
Rebake the biscotti for another 15 minutes or until dry and golden brown.
Allow them to cool on the pan before diving in for a sample.