Making decent biscotti has been a big challenge for me. It’s already a rather tedious process because the dough has to be baked first, taken out of the oven, cooled and cut into slices before the slices are popped back into the oven to be baked further.
Somehow I have persevered, mostly because I love the taste of it. And there can be so many varieties once the basic dough is mastered.
However, my journey has been a painful one.
My first effort, from a cookie cookbook given to me by a friend, turned out so hard I’m surprised my teeth didn’t break off.
My second effort, from my Big Book of Baking, turned out great tasting biscotti but the process was tough. The dough was hard to cut as it would be squished down when I put my knife to it.
I tried cooling it for longer, used a different sawing motion to no avail. It’s only saving grace was that it tasted great.
So finally I settled on a recipe from a favourite site of mine, My Baking Addiction.
Ok, this recipe is by no means easy to make either, but the resulting dough is much easier to cut. The dough is virtually impossible to work with. Even after I put it into the fridge it’s still sticky.
But I cut it into half in the bowl, scoop it out and drop it onto the floured cookie sheet and sort of roll it into a log. When it’s baked, it’s much easier to cut because the centre isn’t squishy. And it tastes wonderful.
I’ve varied the nuts, adding pistachios or whole almonds but usually kept the cranberries and white chocolate.
Recipe for Spring Biscotti (from mybakingaddiction.com):
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg white
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually blend into the creamed mixture using a wooden spoon. Stir in the white chocolate, dried cranberries, and almonds. Cover, and chill for 30 minutes, or until dough is no longer sticky.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface, and divide into halves. Form each half into a flattish log about 12 inches long by 3 inches wide. Arrange logs at least 3 inches apart on baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven, or until pale gold. Allow logs to cool on the baking sheet until cool enough to handle. On a cutting board, cut logs crosswise on a diagonal into 1 inch thick slices. Arrange on baking sheet.
- Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until golden. Transfer biscotti to wire racks, and cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.