Gail Hall has been a positive force on the Alberta culinary scene for decades – she was an award-winning caterer, broadcaster, food writer, educator and international culinary tour guide who knew everyone and shared everything from her cooking school and loft on 104th Street in Edmonton. We’ve known her for years, and like most others who knew her, have been inspired by not only her work, but her infectious energy and enthusiasm. She has done so much to build our culinary community, to teach home cooks and support new (and established) chefs.
Sadly, Gail passed away in November, but this past weekend her husband Jon along with her many friends and family members held a celebration of her life – a potluck, of course, and we baked a batch of her almond biscotti to bring along. Thanks Gail, for all the delicious things you’ve shared, and for bringing so many people together around the table.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- grated zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup Vin Santo, Amaretto or orange juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 cup dried fruit, such as chopped apricots, dried cranberries or golden raisins
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a large butter, beat the butter and sugar until well blended and sandy. Add the eggs and orange zest and beat until smooth. Beat in the orange juice.
- Add the flours, baking powder and salt stir or beat on low until the dough starts to come together. Add the almonds and dried fruit and stir just until combined.
- Split the dough into 4 and shape into logs (you can also use saran wrap, parchment or waxed paper to shape/roll the logs), making them slightly shorter than the length of the tray, to 1¼” high and 2 ” wide on parchment-lined baking trays. If you like, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are golden and dry (they will seem a little soft). Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the logs into 3/4-1" pieces. Set them back on the sheet, standing upright, spread out slightly so that the air has room to circulate. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden and dry. Alternatively, the cookies can be eaten soft, after their first baking.
- Makes about 3 dozen biscotti.