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Halfway through munching down on a bag of Trader Joe's cinnamon coated candied almonds, I stopped and thought two things. First, that I had probably better cool it before my teeth fell out, and second, that I had never baked with candied nuts. Could it be done? I wondered. Or would the thick sugar shells burn before the dough was baked through? I left what I was doing (ie rotting my teeth), pulled out my flour bin, and gave it a shot.
My first thought was to incorporate the candied almonds into a chocolate chip cookie. But unlike some softer candied pecans or walnuts, these guys were crunchy. I find it annoying to eat a soft cookie with particularly hard or crunchy add-ins because the dough inevitably dissolves in your mouth long before you're done eating the crunchy bits.
I decided on biscotti, but not just any biscotti—the traditional Italian kind that are made without butter and whose crispy m.o in life is to meet a cup of coffee. To balance the sweetness of the candied almonds, I also added slightly bitter dark chocolate chips and a hint of salt. Then I formed my logs, put them in the oven, and waited.
Turns out that the almonds didn't burn at all, and better yet, they made delicious cookies. The cinnamon coating subtly permeates the dough, creating a nuanced spiced + nut + vanilla + chocolate flavor profile that I found addictive. The candied almonds make these extra crunchy (don't eat them in a library) but despite the richness of the add-ins, the cookies are rather light. Let's just say I was quickly back to rotting my teeth.
About the author: Carrie Vasios Mullins is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios