During my recent trip to Italy, I resisted (slightly) temptation to bring things back home with me. I visited a food lover's dream, Mercato Centrale, while in Florence. That's where I bought the massive wedge of Parmigiano, that caused me to be very selective in anything else I purchased. Scouring groceries and food emporiums was close to the top of my list of things I wanted to do while in Italy.
At the Mercato Central I almost purchased a small bag of Biscotti di Prato, but in the end I convinced myself that the cookies, most likely, would be mere crumbs by the time I returned home. Plus, biscotti are easy cookies to bake! I'd search for a recipe that closely resembled what I ate in Florence.
This recipe is from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. I'm also planning on making another version, next time, from The Il Fornaio Baking Book. Not because I didn't like Tartine's biscotti. I did! They're FANTASTIC. I'm only curious how some slight differences between the two will change the final product.
Great for dipping in a glass of Vin Santo... and also in a glass of cold milk!
adapted from TARTINE, by Elisabeth M. Pruitt and Chad Robertson
• 1/2 cup hazelnuts, peeled (follow a fool-proof method by My Baking Addiction HERE)
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon aniseeds
• 4 teaspoons Grand Marnier
• 2 teaspoons orange zest, grated
• 2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 large egg for wash, optional
1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick liner.
2. Chop the skinned hazelnuts.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed, or by hand with a wooden spoon, cream the butter until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and beat until light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the aniseeds, liqueur, and orange zest. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined. Stir in the chopped nuts.
4. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each portion into a log about 2-inches in diameter. Set the logs on the baking sheet, spacing them about 2-inches apart. If you want to glaze the biscotti, whisk the egg and brush over the logs (this is optional - I didn't glaze my logs).
5. Bake the logs until set to the touch and browned on top, about 25-30 minutes.
6. Place the logs on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer logs to a cutting board and using a serrated knife, slice the logs diagonally 1/2-inch thick. Return the sliced biscotti to the parchment-lined baking sheet cut side down.
7. Bake the biscotti until the edges are lightly toasted. My cookies took about 10 minutes, but start checking yours at 5 minutes. Cool biscotti on a wire rack and transfer to an air-tight container to store.
• Tuscan Horse •