Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Basic Biscotti Recipe - The Possibilities are Endless


The first time I made biscotti for my in-laws, they thought I'd bought it at a bakery. They were highly impressed when they found out that I'd made it myself. Just between you and me, biscotti is actually really easy to make (and it is a good recipe to impress your friends and guests!).

There are a lot of different variations on the recipe, some using butter, others using oil. I prefer the oil method because for one, it's more authentic, but also because I can't have anything made with cow's milk because Little Bird is sensitive to it. Traditional Italian recipes use olive oil (of course) but if you are not a big olive oil fan you can use canola or vegetable oil or substitute half of the olive oil for something else.

I always start out with a basic recipe, and then add whatever nuts, dried fruit, or chocolate chips I happen to have on hand at the time. Experiment! The varieties are endless.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
2 tsp. extract of your choosing (vanilla, almond, lemon, anise, combo)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1-2 cups of the mix-in of your choice (You can play around with how much you want in your biscotti, just keep in mind that the more you add the harder it is to slice!)

Mix-in Ideas
Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Pecans, Pumpkin seeds, Dried cherries, Dried cranberries, Dried apricots, Chocolate chips


First, pre-heat your oven to 325°. Or, do like I do and forget this step until your dough is finished and then spend ten minutes shooing the cats away while the oven pre-heats. Your choice.

In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil and extract until they are blended. No need to get fancy with a mixer here folks, I just use a fork for the whole recipe. Then beat in your eggs.

In another bowl, combine the rest of your (dry) ingredients and give them a good stir. Get out a clean fork to do this. That is common sense to me, but I just imagined Jeep using the wet fork to stir up the dry ingredients so I decided I'd better be specific.

Pour your dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and stir until you've got a well combined (and fairly sticky) dough. If you're doing some mix-ins, stir them in now. I just made a basic batch with vanilla and walnut extracts. Divide the dough in half and turn each portion out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I like the sprinkle some flour on the parchment first, but that step is optional. I do recommend dusting your hands with flower before forming the dough.

You're going to form your dough into two rectangular logs, about 2" wide. The width of your logs will become the length of your biscotti. Don't panic if it looks really small and sad. Stay with me.

Bake your logs in the oven for 25-30 minutes until they are lightly browned. The pull them out and reduce the oven to 275°. Let the logs cool for at least 10 minutes, then slice them diagonally into 3/4 inch strips. Eat the ugly corner pieces. You know you want to.

Lay the slices on their sides back on your parchment lined sheets and bake for another 5-10 minutes. The longer you bake them the crispier biscotti you will get. I tend to cook them a shorter amount of time because I like them a bit soft still. This is a personal choice. You could also adorn your biscotti with some melted chocolate and coconut flakes.


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