Birthday Biscotti

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I have been working on this recipe for approximately 2 weeks in preparation for my mom’s birthday. She is absolutely in love with biscotti. Unfortunately she lives 1,500 miles away from me, so I can’t bake her a cake and mail it. However, biscotti are so small and stay fresh forever when they’re stored in an airtight container, perfect for long distance travel!

Everytime I talk on the phone with her she tells me about the biscotti that she bought in the store, some are good and some are not so good. One thing for sure though, they’re not made with love like mine.

Biscotti is a long Italian cookie that is made primarily of egg, sugar, and flour. The cookie originated in the city of Prato, Italy centuries ago. One amazing fact about biscotti is that it means “twice baked” and because this double baking removes alot of moisture from the final product, it stays fresh longer. Because it is baked twice, the second baking determines how hard the cookie will be and because it is traditionally very hard, it is served with coffee or any other drink.

My first attempt at baking biscotti was not very succesful because I used fat (butter). This gave me a crumbly cookie, as opposed to the dense texture that I was looking for. It was still very delicious, but I would not call it biscotti.

The second time I made biscotti, I omitted the fat and just mixed the eggs and sugar before adding in the flour and leavening agent. This time around I would have been succesful had I not overbaked it. The first time I baked them in the slab form I did not take them out of the oven until the slab was very hard. The second baking made it even harder and by the time I was ready to enjoy I almost broke my tooth off because they were so hard. I dubbed that batch the “post apocalyptic biscotti” because they could have made perfect weapons.

After taking some tips from my friend at work ( who loves food just as much as I do), I made the perfect biscotti. The texture is dense, a bit crumbly ( not too much) but not tooth breaking hard. Perfect for mailing across the country!

This is the recipe I used: ( remeber, the secret is in the baking time)

Orange pistachio biscotti

1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 organic sugar
2 large eggs (divided)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c crushed raw pistachios
2 Tbs orange zest
I tsp allspice
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 °F
2. Mix 1 egg with sugar and orange zest. Mix well until eggs begin to get slightly frothy. This will give the cookie a bit more volume. Add nuts to this wet mixture.
3. In a different bowl mix flour, baking powder, allspice, and salt.
Mix dry ingredients into wet mixture and mix just until a sticky dough is formed. Do not mix any more after this point because the gluten in the flour will develop and it may cause the final product to be hard and dense
4. Grease a baking sheet and form a log out of the dough. In a small bowl mix the other egg with a tbs of water to form an egg wash. Brush egg wash over the dough log and throw into the oven for about 30 minutes or until the dough turns slightly brown.
5. The first baking is very important because you need to make sure that the dough is firm but still soft to the touch in the middle. Do not leave in the oven until it is hard. Remove and let it cool for 10 minutes
6. Slice diagonally and set the sliced biscotti on a baking rack. Bake for another 10 minutes. Once done, allow to cool and place In an airtight container.

Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee!

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