A Way To Perfect Biscotti

Fresh Italian Biscotti with Cranberries, Almonds, and Walnuts Literally, what a lazy week!   My roommates and I have had to lounge around all week as it’s dark, foggy and rainy with no hint of sun in the future.  Here...

Fresh Italian Biscotti with Cranberries, Almonds, and Walnuts
Fresh Italian Biscotti with Cranberries, Almonds, and Walnuts

Literally, what a lazy week!   My roommates and I have had to lounge around all week as it’s dark, foggy and rainy with no hint of sun in the future.  Here it is 2 pm in the afternoon and it’s all my roommates and I can do to stay awake.  None are  volunteering to go to the store to stock up on supplies, so we eat what’s here, and surprisingly enough we’re inventing new recipes with the limited stock of ingredients we have.

The prominent question this week is “What do you want to drink?” meaning of course, tea, coffee, hot chocolate or wine.  Cold drinks don’t really make sense in this damp miserable weather (wine being the exception…need I say more). Doing nothing however, is fulfilling for only a few days so we started playing games, cleaning, redecorating rooms and baking! Due to the lack of ingredients we had to go for the easy recipes and biscotti won!

Why? Because this brother of the cookie is made with only flour, sugar and eggs.   No fats present. Adding other flavourings is up to you.  Thanks to their crispiness, they are one of those pleasures you start eating and it´s very difficult to stop.  Me, and a plate of biscotti in a room alone would probably wind up with an empty plate.   So keep some for yourself and distribute the rest to your neighbours.    Mark my words, the smell of biscotti drying in the oven is almost impossible to escape from, so they’ll know you’re coming.   Kind of reminds me of Christmas, so be a rebel and make yourself a bit of Christmas in September.   It’ll feel soooooo good!

Fresh Italian Biscotti with Cranberries, Almonds, and Walnuts

Ingredients:

Preparing Biscotti
Preparing Biscotti

  • 280 g plain flour
  • 8 g baking powder
  • 150 g granulated sugar + one extra handful
  • 20 g vanilla sugar
  • 80 g breadcrumbs
  • cinnamon
  • 100 g almonds
  • 100 g walnuts
  • 100 g dried fruits
  • 3 eggs + one for egg wash
  • ½ teaspoon of almond extract

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven for 170°C.
  2. Sift together flour and baking powder. Add breadcrumbs, sugar, vanilla sugar and cinnamon and mix well.

    Sift Together Flour and Baking Powder
    Step 1: Sift Together Flour and Baking Powder

  3.  Add whole almonds, walnuts and dried fruits and incorporate in flour mixture.DSC_1186
  4. In a small bowl mix eggs with almond extract and gradually incorporate into the dry mixture
  5. Form two loaves about 5cm high and 20cm long. Brush them with egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar. log
  6. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25min. If you are tired of paper that is hard to manage use non-stick baking sheets;  you can find this wonderful helper "here"
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool completely (you may even wait overnight). DSC_1208
  8. When cold, cut each loaf in slices about 0,8 - 1cm strong and place them on prepared baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for additional 15 minutes at 160°C or until golden brown.DSC_1220
  9. Let cool and serve with dessert wine or coffee.

Mamma mia! Tell me more about biscotti!

  • the name comes from the Latin biscoctus, meaning "twice-cooked“
  • due to their dry texture they can be stored for long periods of time so that´s why they were very popular during long journeys and wars
  • the first written note comes from Prato in the eighteenth-century
  • adding spices – most commonly anise & cinnamon and you may also try ginger
  • you may adopt the second baking to your choice, if you want your biscotti to be crispier and drier extend the time of baking and lower the temperature if necessary.   For biscotti with a crisp outside and slightly tender centre, bake at 190 °C for 5-8 min.
  • biscotti may also be dipped in chocolate after the second baking
  •  Their oblong design makes them perfect for dipping in coffee, hot chocolate or a dessert wine DSC_1216

Terminology of biscotti

Traditional biscotti contained only flour, sugar and eggs, no baking powder although it is often added these days. Traditional flavouring was almonds and pine nuts while today, people add anything ranging from nuts, through dried fruits to different spices and still call it biscotti.

Bruttiboni– very similar to biscotti often including orange juice in the dough

Cantucci and cantuccini – originated in Tuscany and often mistaken to be biscotti, while biscotti is any twice baked cookie,cantucci  or the smaller version cantuccini always contain almonds.   Add cranberries and you have cantuccini no more, but biscotti.

Rusks – include also olive oil