Friday, June 12, 2009

Making Biscotti

Biscotti were a staple of the Roman Legions. The word means "twice-baked", thus they could be stored for a long time, which was particularly useful during journeys and wars. The internet is awash with hundreds of biscotti recipes; most are sweet, although a very few are savory (like Rosemary and Parmesan Biscotti). Traditionally, biscotti are almond flavored, although often they are flavored with anise or chocolate. Only your imagination would limit dreaming up your own biscotti recipes!

Last Christmas I made Holiday Biscotti, adding dried red cranberries and green pistachio nuts, with one end dipped in white chocolate. Biscotti dipped in chocolate does not store well, and the chocolate is prone to run if temps are warm. Biscotti are actually very easy to make! Here's a basic recipe and visual how-to steps:

Basic Biscotti Recipe
2 to 2-1/2 cups (before sifting) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

3 large eggs, plus 1 for egg wash

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cups brown sugar, packed

Grated rind of 1 orange
(optional, depending on flavor choice)
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pine nets, etc.)

2-4 tsp. flavoring of your choice (chocolate, Triple Sec, etc.)

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

Beat the 3 eggs until light; add the sugar gradually and beat until ribbony, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the orange rind and flavorings. Add the sifter ingredients and blend on low until incorporated. Fold in the nuts until blended.
With lightly floured hands, form 3 loaves about 2” wide and 12” long; place on a buttered baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Place on a rack in the upper third of a pre-heated 350ºF oven for 20 minutes or so until lightly golden. Remove from oven, let cool slightly to handle and, using a serrated knife, cut on the diagonal into 3/4” slices. Lay the slices on their sides back on the baking sheet, return to the oven and bake for 6 minutes or more on each side until golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool, and store in a tightly covered container. Serve with coffee and cordials. (Dunk in coffee!)
Cook's Notes:
1. Use some vanilla extract as part of your flavoring additions; it will enhance any other flavors!

2. Biscotti will keep for a long time stored in an air-tight container as long as you don't use a recipe with butter or oil in it.
3. If the biscotti get a bit limp, crisp them in a preheated 350ºF oven in a single layer on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes or so.

1 comment:

  1. OK. I'm hooked! You remember both my parents were in the food business and I, too, have become a great cook. I still make Mother's biscotti from the Old Country. I'm swamped right now as guests just left, but will take some time this evening to go through your blog at length. It looks beautiful, Donna.


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