Crunchy, crumbly twice-baked cookies studded with almonds are the perfect complement to a cup of coffee or glass of vin santo.
These traditional Italian cookies, brimming with toasted almonds, are twice-baked for extra crispiness. This recipe first appeared in our December 2013 issue along with Mike Colameco’s article All is Calm, All is Bright.
Espresso (/ɛˈsprɛsoʊ/, Italian: [esˈprɛsso]) is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso is generally thicker than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids, and has crema on top (a foam with a creamy consistency). As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of espresso are very concentrated. Espresso is also the base for other drinks such as a caffè latte, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white, or caffè Americano. Espresso has more caffeine per unit volume than most coffee beverages, but because the usual serving size is much smaller, the total caffeine content is less than a mug of standard brewed coffee, contrary to a common belief. Although the actual caffeine content of any coffee drink varies by size, bean origin, roast method and other factors, the caffeine content of “typical” servings of espresso vs. drip brew are 120 to 170 mg vs. 150 to 200 mg.
There is debate over whether the spelling expresso is incorrect or whether it is an acceptable variant. Oxford Dictionaries online states “The spelling “expresso” is not used in the original Italian and is strictly incorrect, although it is common.” The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style (2000) describes the spelling expresso as “wrong”, and specifies espresso as the only correct form. The third edition of Fowler’s Modern English Usage (1996) states that espresso “has entirely driven out the variant expresso”. The Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster and the Online Etymology Dictionary call “expresso” a variant spelling.
Espresso is made by forcing very hot water under high pressure through finely ground, compacted coffee. Tamping down the coffee promotes the water’s even penetration of the grounds. This process produces an almost syrupy beverage by extracting both solid and dissolved components. The crema  is produced by emulsifying the oils in the ground coffee into a colloid, which does not occur in other brewing methods. There is no universal standard defining the process of extracting espresso, but there are several published definitions which attempt to place constraints on the amount and type of ground coffee used, the temperature and pressure of the water, and the rate of extraction. Generally, one uses an espresso machine to make espresso. The act of producing a shot of espresso is often termed “pulling” a shot, originating from lever espresso machines, which require pulling down a handle attached to a spring-loaded piston, forcing hot water through the coffee at high pressure. Today, however, it is more common for the pressure to be generated by an electric pump.