Sunday, May 31, 2009

Biscotti (Attempt #1)

On my quest to find the perfect biscotti recipe, I came across the following one from our North End Italian Cookbook. I tried it out (my first biscotti attempt ever) and it came out pretty well. To me, they tasted more like anisette toasts (like the ones from Stella D'oro) but they were good nonetheless. The recipe from my book was not very exact. I ended up adding a lot more flour and baking the biscotti a lot longer to dry it out but I made note of that below (in italics). Give them a try and tell me what you think.

(from "The North End Italian Cookbook," adapted by Les Gourmands du South End)

Yield: 2 Dozen Large or 45 Small


2 cups flour (you will probably need about a cup more)
0.5 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 tablespoons anise extract
1 cup nuts (optional) (I used pecans)
0.5 cup dried fruit (e.g, cranberries) - (optional)
0.5 cup miniature chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. Beat together eggs, sugar, melted butter, and flavorings on medium speed.
4. Blend dry mixture into egg mixture on slow speed until smooth and firm. Add more flour if dough is too soft to handle. (You should expect this.)
5. Remove from mixer onto floured board or counter.
6. Gently knead dough, adding more flour as needed.
7. Knead in any of the optional ingredients you choose to incorporate.
8. Cut dough into three parts and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I used a Silpat Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat.) Form into three log shapes, each about 6" long; flatten slightly.
9. Bake in hot oven for 25 minutes with cookie sheet in the middle rack. Watch for burning bottoms. (With the silpat, I did not experience any burning.)
10. Cool loaves on rack for 5 minutes. Then, while still warm slice them into half-inch slices, using a serrated knife.
11. Place the slices cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Return to oven and bake at 350º for 10-15 minutes. (I think they will need to bake for at least 40 minutes to dry them out biscotti-style.)
12. Remove from oven once desired doneness is achieved. Let cool (they'll get crunchier as they cool). Enjoy!

If you aren't getting that nice browned crispiness typical of biscotti, I found that, after baking the biscotti in the oven, if you then put them in the toaster oven on bake at 300ºF for 5 minutes, you can get a nice light brown color and crispness to them.

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