Inghams Italy Cookbook - Biscotti
Tue Dec 2014
Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Biscotti
I remember that fateful day I had the first biscotti of my life. I was in a café with a couple of good friends when the café latte that I order arrived with a cookie by its side. The cookie looked different. It didn't look whole; it looked like it was a small slice from a gargantuan log. Yet… it was so complete, with a beautiful scattering of nuts peppering its surface.
It appeared to be crumbly yet it felt so solid and strong against the pressure of my fingers as I pinched it to dunk in my coffee. (There's something helplessly romantic about dunking a cookie into a large cup of something. Think of Oreos in milk.) I dunked it once, twice, three times. Then I brought the cookie to my mouth and WHOA! It was moist and crumbly! Like a brownie, or… a cake! Nutty and sweet with a hint of salt, drenched with the bitterness of coffee. Right there and then, biscotti made its way deep into a special place in my heart.
While they may seem like fancy little bites to have with your afternoon coffee, biscotti is relatively straightforward to bake. They are twice-baked cookies originating from Prato, Italy a few centuries ago. First, they are baked in a log, cooled and sliced and then laid flat and baked again. The hardest part is probably waiting for them to cool completely before slicing them for the second bake. Waiting for them to cool after the second bake before popping one into your mouth is hard!
Biscotti are originally made without fat and, I admit, it took a few tries to get this recipe right. The first time we made fat-free biscotti, they were far too hard and we pretty much struggled through finishing that batch. Perhaps the proportion of flour to egg wasn’t right, but we found that a small amount of olive oil really helped make the texture crunchy yet not too hard.
Today, we made some Pistachio and Chocolate Biscotti, which means I wasn't just presented with ONE lonesome cookie wedged between a cup and saucer; I was blown away with a whole tray of those lovelies! Follow this recipe below and you can be like me and never have to sheepishly ask the coffee barista for a second cookie ever again!
Makes about 50 cookies
50ml olive oil
240g plain flour
5g baking powder
½ tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
80g dark chocolate
Roughly chop the dark chocolate and pistachios and set aside for later. Beat the olive oil and sugar together until well blended, then add the almond extract, vanilla extract and eggs. Beat until it is pale yellow in colour.
Sift the flour and baking powder and fold into the egg mixture. Fold in the chopped chocolate and pistachios. Divide the dough into two and shape into logs about 4cm wide and 2cm high. This dough is sticky, so shape using wet fingers. Bake for 30 minutes at 160°C until the logs are dry and slightly golden.
Turn the heat down to 140 °C and cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting it into thin slices, about 1 cm thick using a serrated knife. For longer biscotti, slice diagonally. (This is important, as warm biscotti will crumble when sliced.)
Arrange neatly on a tray and bake for a further 20-30 minutes at 140°C until the biscotti is dry and crisp. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
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Where will you taste Biscotti this year?