Monday, September 19, 2011

Baking Biscotti (Italian for Biscuit)

These twice cooked Italian cookies make for a good holiday gift. Traditionally biscotti are with almonds although pistacios are also frequently used. These hard crusty cookies in Italy are served morning or evening with a "una bella tazza di caffe".
Italian Biscotti Jars
These instructions are more for process preparation than as a recipe. Cookies are to be cooked on parchment paper on a doubled walled cookie sheet. (The double wall prevents burning and gives even results.) To get consistent results, pipe lines of dough in even adjacent rows, apart from each other. Use full circle pipe nozzle. Allow for expansion between rows as well at the ends. The rows may be 4-6 pipes wide necessary to make a biscotti 3-4 inches wide. Traditionally the cookies are long and thin.

Even though baked twice, the initial baking should be thorough. Once baked to a golden brown or to the point that a toothpick inserted comes back dry and clean, allow cookies to cool. Slice into 3/4 inch cookies with a sharp serrated knife. Separate to allow an even second baking and re-bake cut side down to drive out remaining moisture. Cool and store in air tight container.

Typical recipe for 100 cookies

1 Cup sweet butter
5 Eggs
4 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon of baking powder
1 Tablespoon baking soda (helps over come acid of lime juice)
2 Teaspoons vanilla
2 Cups chopped blanched almonds (page  )
2 Cups sugar
Zest of lime
1 Cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 Cup candied ginger, chopped finely

Bake 375 F for 20 minutes. Second baking, cut side down, 375 F 10-15 minutes.

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