Biscotti

Every time my aunt visits from NY, she brings a few packets of Biscotti along. My grandparents LOVE them at chai-time. Since I’m around, I’d might as well bake them some. So that’s how I baked these.

I looked up a few recipes online. They had, more or less, an identical procedure. Different recipes had different proportions of egg, flour and sugar. I didn’t want to use as many as three eggs, as most recipes called for, so I used 2 eggs and milk. That worked just fine. Also, all recipes used all purpose flour. But I usually substitute all purpose flour with whole wheat, in breads and a few cookies and where ever else I can. The sugar cookies are probably an exception. šŸ™‚

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup your choice of (unsalted) dried fruits and nuts
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of milk

For the fruits and nuts, I used a mixture of sliced almonds, raisins and pistachio.

More on what it is and how it’s eaten (for the uninitiated):
The word “biscotti” is used to describe a long, dry, hard, twice-baked cookie with a curved top and flat bottom designed for dunking into wine or coffee. The name biscotti is derived from ‘bis’ meaning twice in Italian and ‘cotto’ meaning baked or cooked. The cookies are baked for the second time, to dry them out, so that the end product is light and crunchy.

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and extracts and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, nuts/raisins, cinnamon, baking soda and salt until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until a dough begins to form. Gradually add only as much milk, as needed and knead until the dough is firm.
4. Roll the dough into two thick ropes (I’m working with an ancient oven which is a little over a foot long and only about a foot deep), or one really long one and place it/them on the parchment paper. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the top(s) are golden-brown and the dough has begun to crack.
5. Let the log(s) cool for about five minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to about 165 degrees Celcius.
6. Then cut out slices diagonally and bake those again for about 7-10 minutes on each side.
7. Store them once they have cooled completely.

The uncut loaf

I think they should stay good in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Here, biscotti made from 3 cups of flour lasted three evenings. Apparently, my mum doesn’t feed my folks to well at lunch time.

Some biscotti insight and ideas, for further experiments.
If you prefer the biscotti relatively soft, you can choose to forego the second baking entirely. They are fully baked the first time around. The second baking, like I mentioned earlier, only serves to dry them out and make them crisp.

You could use dried cranberries and almonds as a combination. Chocolate chips, even.

Or just use a single kind of nut and then dip the biscotti (once completely baked and cooled) into chocolate and cover with sprinkles. I’m guessing kids will dig that kinda stuff. And it just might save you the effort of flavouring the milk you serve them. Good ol’ cold, plain milk.

How about some freshly grated ginger, instead of the cinnamon? And again, just one kind of nut. Add some orange zest please. šŸ™‚ I think this one just might pair well with some red wine.

Too bright, yes?
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