3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1cup golden raisins and/or snipped dried apricots
1 1/2cups lightly salted dry-roasted pistachio nuts, chopped
2 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly coat two 8x4x2-inch (or similar) loaf pans with nonstick spray. Line a large baking sheet with parchment; set aside.
2. In a large bowl stir together sugar, butter, vanilla, baking powder, almond extract, and salt. Add eggs and whites, beating vigorously until evenly incorporated. Fold in raisins, then nuts until thoroughly incorporated. Gradually stir in flour until very well blended (if desired, work in last of it with your hands). If dough seems very soft or sticky, let it stand to firm up for 5 minutes.
3. Divide dough in half; place each half in a loaf pan. Using greased hands, press dough to edges until smooth on top and evenly thick all over. (Alternatively, line a large baking sheet with parchment. Using greased hands, shape and smooth each half into an 8x4-inch, evenly thick loaf, spacing them as far apart as possible on the baking sheet).
4. Bake for 24 to 28 minutes or until firm and light brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Set aside; cool completely. Transfer to a cutting board. Using a large, serrated knife, cut each loaf into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Place slices, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet.
5. Return to oven. Bake slices 12 to 15 minutes or until toasted and light brown. Cool slightly. Gently turn over. Bake 7 to 10 minutes more until golden brown, watching closely to avoid overbrowning. Turn off oven. Let stand in oven to crisp 10 minutes more. Remove from oven; cool completely.
From Better Homes and Gardens