ISO biscotti recipe
- A Fish Called Wanda
I've never made my own biscotti, and thought it would be a fun weekend project. I like biscotti to be firm and good for dunking. Many home-made biscotti that I tried at people's homes turn to mush when they are dunked. On another hand, I don't like biscotti that are hard as a rock and require very long dunking (soaking) to become edible. I like mine to become chewy and bitable (but not mushy) after a few seconds of dunking. If possible, I'd like the top of biscotti to be rough and slightly cracked vs. smooth. I don't know if it makes a difference in the taste, but I had the most amazing biscotti with a somewhat cracked surface at Gryphon Cafe near Philly, and they ruined me forever. I guess I am trying to recreate them :)
Sorry, no recipe per se, as I take a standard and rework the flavourings/ratios every time and have never written it down, but I have some suggestions.
If you have a gas oven, it's impossible to recreate the dry crunch of good biscotti. Gas is a damp heat compared to electric, which means my biscotti comes out with the crunch-yet-chew I think you're describing.
What also helps that texture tremendously is if you add ground nuts to the recipe. In my pistachio version, I add a cup of ground, toasted pistachios to the batter. Ground nuts help retain a slight amount of moisture. Filberts are great for this as well, and almonds.
Oh yes, letting the biscotti rest for a day on the counter before storing in an airtight container will help lighten the bone-cracking crunch - like any baked good it will take up humidity from the air.
My recipe doesn't include the typical biscotti flavor of anise (I don't like anise) but otherwise I think this is a pretty typical recipe, and you can add anise if you want :)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or anise, or both)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and flavoring until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1/2-inch thickness.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. When the cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each 1 crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Cookie slices should be lightly toasted.
I would guess that achieving the right hardness is partially based on how long this second baking is, and partially as the other poster suggested on how long you let them sit.
Yield: 3 to 4 dozen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes