April 12, 2008
Traditional biscotti - just add coffee.
My husband comes from a large Italian family for whom bringing a plate of homemade biscotti to any gathering is de rigueur. The first time I brought my version to a family celebration, I received more than a couple incredulous ”You made this?” kind of comments. It’s funny how food is so intricately woven into our very identity. Instantly, the Korean girl who married cousin A. was now truly part of the family.
When I was newly married, I asked my mother-in-law for her mother’s biscotti recipe and have tweaked it enough to feel I could claim ownership to it. After years of my husband’s family telling me how different my biscotti (albeit delicious) tasted from any of theirs, my mother-in-law and I actually went over my recipe ingredient by ingredient since my biscotti was heavy, dense and crumbly and hers was lighter, more porous and crispier. We were bemused to discover the two recipes were completely different and she still has no idea whose biscotti recipe she wrote down for me all those years ago.
This is the only dessert recipe I have committed to memory as I have been making it about once a month for the past 5 years or so. I make it for cookie exchanges, for parties, as hostess gifts, for school snack days, and of course, for our family to munch on. My favorite way to eat it is dunking it in my morning cup of coffee. Or, for those who like to mix it up – try it with a glass of red wine. If your only experience with biscotti is Sahara-dry Stella D’Oro cookies, give this recipe a whirl. I think you’ll like it.
One Spicy Mama’s Biscotti
4 large eggs
3/4 C. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. anise (optional)
4 C. flour
3/4 – 1 C. sugar
3 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk eggs, oil, vanilla and anise in a medium bowl.
Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) in large bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix with whisk or rubber spatula until just combined.
Do not overwork. The flour will be aborbed into the dough because of the high oil content.
Divide dough into two. Pat the dough alternately on the sides and on the top the elongate the dough into a long, slightly domed log, 3-4 inches wide. Repeat with other ball of dough.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 – 17 minutes or until golden. Take out and let cool slightly.
Cut the logs into 3/4 inch wide strips and place on one side.
Place cookie tray on the bottom rack in the oven and broil on high for about 3-5 minutes. WARNING: Do NOT walk away from the kitchen. You WILL burn your biscotti!
Turn the biscotti over on the opposite side and repeat. Let cool completely and dust with powdered sugar if desired.
I have made healthier variations of this recipe using 1 C. whole wheat flour, 3 C. regular flour. That’s a easy way to sneak in more whole grain into your family’s diet. I’ve also tried 1/2 C. Splenda, 1/2 C. sugar combination, but my outraged husband protested so strongly that I never tried it again.