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Home-made Biscotti

November 22, 2011

Making biscotti at home always seemed like such a hassle, so I never really tried making it until now. Fortunately, I have an amazing cook and baker friend, Liz (she is Italian), who gave me a biscotti baking lesson.

We made two batches–apple cinnamon and chocolate coffee toffee.

It’s actually easy to make, if you know what the dough should look and feel like. Not too sticky, but not too flour-y. Just right.

Biscotti is great because the base for any biscotti is exactly the same–2 eggs, 1 stick butter, 2/3 cups sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, dash salt, 2 cups flour…add whatever wet and dry flavorings/extra ingredients, and you have yourself a perfect canvas for sweet, bready treats. (Note that if you add dry flavorings like cocao powder, you will need to use less flour because the cocao powder would take up some of the dry ingredient space.) Here is the recipe, plucked straight from an email Liz sent to me. In her own words:

They are super easy to make; you just need some time and go with your feeling (literally).  The base recipe is so basic – all you really need is that and then add any of the flavor combinations you want (adding wet and dry ingredients at the right stage).

– 1/2 cup butter (softened)
–  2/3 cup sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1 3/4 or 2 cups flour (depending on the dry ingredients)
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt

The chocolate ones came from a website you shared with me!  I used this site to give me proportions for the cocoa powder. http://www.italian-dessert-recipes.com/italian_biscotti_recipe.html.  I also, incorporate some of my mom’s tweaks.  Don’t forget egg wash before you start baking to give it that extra sheen.  I don’t believe that’s in the recipes in the site above.  Really just stick to the base and then let your imagination fly.

– preheat oven to 350
– cream butter and sugar
– add eggs
– add any other wet flavorings (liqueurs, coffee, extracts; this includes zests as well)
– In a separate bowl mix/sift (the sifting isn’t 100% necessary especially if you use a stand mixer, if not then you probably should) the flour, baking powder, salt
– slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combined; don’t over mix
– fold in other flavors (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, etc).
– divide dough in half; on lightly floured board, roll into logs and pat down gently (forms an elongated dome shape)
– place logs on lightly greased baking sheet and brush with egg wash
– bake approx 20-30 min (depends on size); you know to take them out when they are slightly firm to the touch.
– remove and let logs cool for 5-10 minutes; lower oven to 325; once they are cooled slice the  biscotti and place on ungreased baking sheet on their side.
– bake about 8-10 min, then flip and bake for another 8-10
– remove and let cool completely

If you have any questions when you bake them let me know.  This recipe follows closely to the one on the website and my mom’s.  The trick is that they don’t always follow the cooking times.  You’ve got to pay attention to them – I usually bake and keep an eye to the lower end (20-25 minutes) then go with touch to judge whether or not to take them out or leave them in for a few more minutes. Also, when you bake them again you’re not necessarily going for golden brown, especially with the chocolate because you can’t tell.  You’re going for firmness and not over drying them out.

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