by Lauren Mote
Welcome to the biscotto.
Biscotto, in Italian means “biscuit”, therefore biscotti means “biscuits”. The traditional biscotti is always baked twice, so if your biscotti recipe doesn’t have you bake them more then once, chuck away the recipe, use mine and prepare for an adventure. I like to make things like biscotti because it’s a little more interesting, and slightly more time consuming then preparing cookie dough in a stand-up mixer, and “place on greased cookie sheet”. Wow, how much fun was that?
Biscotti are pretty easy to make substitutions on. For example, you can use this recipe as a base recipe and add all of your favourite features to it… the possibilities are endless, and biscotti are relatively low in fat compared to cookies. We use less butter, and double up on dried fruits, spices, nuts, etcetera. As most people know, baking is a science, whether we like to admit it or not, so if you’re anything like me, you never follow a recipe verbatim, you’re always trying new additions and subtractions. One thing I must warn you of is this: when putting chopped chocolate, or anything else that has it’s own “meltable fat content” you must bake the initial biscotto dough for 5-10 minutes longer then the estimated bake time. Otherwise when you attempt to slice the dough for the second baking, it will crumble and be very difficult to manipulate.
A great holiday addition, for taste and festive colour, try chopped pistachios and dried cherries or cranberries.
Makes 4 dozen
Basic Biscotti Recipe:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter – room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped Callebaut white chocolate
1/2 cup roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
Oven to 375°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder, set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time, reserve the 4th egg for glazing dough (I will further explain).
On low speed, add the flour mixture a gradually, until just combined.
With a wooden spoon, fold in “additions”.
On a floured work surface, split dough in two. Form a log 14 inches long, and 1 1/2 inches thick.
Place logs 3 inches apart on baking sheet, and bake for 27 minutes.
Rotate sheet half way through.
Once the log is slightly firm to the touch, remove.
Reduce heat to 300°F.
Let logs cool on the parchment, but transfer to wire rack for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, slice diagonally with serrated knife, 1/2 inch thick, and arrange cut side down on wire rack.
Place wire rack on baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, or until firm and crisp.
Let cool completely on wire rack.
Store in airtight container for one week.