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Biscotti

December 7, 2012

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All I can think about is making cookies.

Okay, no, that’s not true. But most days it’s too blustery to take little Stella outside for more than a short walk to the park and she, like her mother, has increasingly little patience for cultural hubs such as Target and the mall. More often than not it’s so cold in most of my parents’ house that we are relegated to the parts they decide to heat: the bedrooms, the room with the TV (but only in the evening), and (of course) the kitchen.

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Spending so much time in the kitchen means I get to gaze upon its loveliness all the time. And think about all the lovely cookies it could make.

Honestly, though, my parents’ is one of the most beautiful and functional kitchens I’ve ever seen. There’s storage, there’s counter space, there’s a hidden fridge and an indoor grill. There’s a cupboard just for baking trays. Waiting to be filled with cookies.

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It is, to my credit, cookie season. And we’re not that into gifts that aren’t edible. Last year we gave mini pumpkin and banana breads. This year, we’ve already made those unbelievably (and super deliciously) healthy date and pecan bars, some oatmeal rum raisin cookies, and have plans for chocolate chip with a twist, and something (anything, really) with chocolate and peanut butter. We’ve also made our standard breakfast, teatime, anytime cookie. A cookie so old school around here that I honestly can’t believe it took me 205 posts to get to this recipe.

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The thing with these biscotti is that there are so many things right with them.

I love you, biscotti. Let me count the ways:

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1. they last forever, so can be pulled out at a moment’s notice, and are PERFECT for teething babies

2. they are perfect dunked in your hot beverage of choice (they become softer but not mush)

3. they have no butter or oil

4. one batch makes a whole lot

5. they can be fancied up, just dunk them in or drizzle them with your favorite chocolate

6. they are adaptable: one batch can be almond lemon zest, the next, dark chocolate sour cherry. Then white chocolate apricot. Then cinnamon ginger milk chocolate.

 

This batch? They were dark chocolate, white chocolate, cardamom, coconut chip and dried cranberry. I made them extra-long because I find them glamorous that way.

So, with no further ado, here are the only biscotti recipe you’ll ever need, the one you’ll turn to over and over and truly make your own. Happy baking. Happy biscotti.

BISCOTTI

This recipe makes about 20 biscotti, so we almost always double it so we have extra on hand. They are super easy to make but are a little bit time consuming as you’ll be tied to the oven for about 40 minutes so you can cut then flip the cookies. You’ll realize it’s all worth it, though, once you dunk your first biscotti into a cup of coffee and take a bite.

2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

3 eggs

3/4 – 1 cup additions (see below)

Preheat oven to 300F/180C.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the eggs. Add the eggs in and use a wooden spoon to blend completely. The dough should be sticky and heavy.

Lightly flour a work surface; here, work the dough into a flat long oval (or two if you have lots of dough) anywhere from 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick. The width of the log will be the length of your biscotti, so adjust accordingly.

Bake the oval on a cookie tray for 30 – 40 minutes or until the sides are just firm. Remove the oval from the oven and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. Flip each slice over onto its side. Return tray to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more. Remove tray again, flip over all the biscotti to the other side and bake for a final 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool before serving or storing. They will keep for a really long time in a sealed container.

ADDITION SUGGESTIONS:

– dark chocolate chunks + finely chopped candied orange peel + vanilla extract

– white chocolate + hazelnuts + ground cardamom

– maple extract + walnuts

– dried cranberries + dark chocolate chips + orange zest

– almonds + almond extract

– chopped dried apricots + coconut + dipped in white chocolate

– peppermint extract + Xmas colored sprinkles + dipped in dark chocolate

– chopped dried apple + pine nuts + cinnamon + nutmeg

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