Also known as Cantucci
What is Biscotti?
Biscotti are twice-baked, unleavened cookies, most often found around coffee shops. The cookie is long and finger shaped. The double baking dries out the dough, giving it a dry, crunchy texture. Biscotti are traditionally plain, but flavors can range from chocolate to poppy seed. Nuts, chocolate chunks or dried fruit are often added to the cookies. They also can be drizzled or covered with chocolate or a glaze. The cookie dough is generally less sweet. Biscotti are paired well with espresso, coffee, tea or wine.
In Italy, a biscotti is any crunchy cookie. The long, twice-baked version is called a Cantucci. However, in the U.S. the cookie is known as a biscotti.
Biscotti comes from a Latin word meaning a “piece or slice of bread.” The cookie was a major food staple for the Roman Legions. Because the moisture was cooked out, it could store well during long journeys. Some joked it would “last for centuries!” The cookie was more of a common, plain food compared to the more refined treat it is today. During the Renaissance, biscotti surfaced in Tuscany, where they were served with a sweet wine. Soon all the provinces were creating their own flavored versions.
When mixing Biscotti dough, do not over do it—mix or knead just until it comes together. Refrigerating an hour before molding can help with this. To get those finger shapes, form the dough into a long log. Bake once, then cut into horizontal strips. A serrated knife works best for keeping it from falling apart. Freezing or spraying the dough with water before the second baking will also help it from crumbling. Bake the strips a second or even a third time. It is crucial to fully dry out the dough during baking, in order to get that crunchy quality. If there is higher humidity, that may extend the baking time.For a more glossy finished cookie, brush egg yolk and water on top of the dough before baking. To keep the characteristic crispness, store in an airtight contain or toast for a few minutes at 250 degrees.
Try this Hazelnut Biscotti recipe:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 cups hazelnuts – toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
- Add all ingredients to list
- Mix dry ingredients (except nuts) in a large bowl. Mix the eggs and liquids in a separate bowl. Add liquids to the dry ingredients gradually, mixing until dough is stiff. Do not overmix. Stir in or work in the nuts.
- Shape dough into two rectangles 3 inches wide, 15 inches long. Place on greased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350 oF (175 oC). Remove baked rectangles from oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
- Using a sharp knife, slice rectangles diagonally into 3/4 inch thick slices. Place back on cookie sheet, sliced side down, and bake again for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Store in airtight container. These store well for weeks.
Recipe Source : Allrecipes.com