Friday, December 26, 2008
I learned how to make biscotti from my Sicilian grandmother. She always made the ones with almonds, and for many years, I didn't realize there was any other kind of biscotti. I know better now, and for a change of pace this holiday, I made a batch of orange-pecan biscotti. Like so many of the recipes I post, this one is not difficult, but it does take a little bit of time. When you dunk your biscotti into your coffee the next morning, you won't regret the afternoon of baking!
Below is the recipe (adapted from a recipe in the Fine Cooking cookie issue and from my grandmother's recipe).
12 ounces white flour
1-1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange zest, finely chopped (zest of two oranges)
1 cup chopped pecans
3 large eggs
5 tablespoons olive oil (yep, it's fabulous)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (for a stronger flavor, you can double this)
To make the dough:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookies sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. Put a little of the flour mixture into a small cup and add the orange zest. Mix to keep it from clumping and then add to the rest of the flour mixture.
4. Add pecans.
5. In a small bowl, blend the eggs, olive oil, orange juice, and Grand Marnier until well blended.
6. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Stir until the dough is blended. (It will be a sticky dough.)
To make the logs (or loaves):
1. On a heavily floured surface, cut off six pieces of dough of equal size. Roll each one into a log about 12 inches long. Place three logs on each cookie sheet, allowing room between each one. Flatten each log so that it's about 2 inches wide. (An easier method--for bigger, longer biscotti--is to divide the cookie dough in half. Form a loaf from each half, about 12 inches long by 2 inches wide. Place one loaf on each cookie sheet.)
2. Bake until the logs are golden and the tops are firm, about 23 minutes. Rotate the cookies sheets halfway through this first cooking (from top to bottom shelf and vice versa) to ensure even baking. (For the loaf method, follow this same step with about the same timing.)
3. Remove the logs or loaves from the oven and cool for a few minutes (until cool enough to handle).
4. Transfer logs/loaves to a cutting surface and with a serated knife cut the logs into cookies about 1/2-inch thick. (Cut the loaves into bigger slices, about 1-inch thick.)
5. Put the slices back onto the cookie sheets, one of the cut sides up, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes (for the log biscotti) or for another 15-20 minutes (for the loaf biscotti). You can't really go wrong with the baking time (unless you truly burn the biscotti). A shorter baking time makes chewy biscotti, while a longer baking time makes crunchier biscotti. Follow your preference.
*Makes about 65 small cookies (and roughly half that if you go with the loaf method)