Centuries ago the Italians developed a twice-baked biscotto in Tuscany formally called, Biscotti, which mean biscuit or cookie. In fact, the word, “bis,” means twice and “cotto” means baked. The method produces a crispy texture, which begins with rolling a log of dough, baking it, then cutting it into slices to be baked again.
Over the years the cookies caught on and became a favorite of Christopher Columbus who would take them on his voyages. Now you can re-create this ancient recipe with a secret tip not known to many, and that is to not over handle the dough, create the Biscotti by hand, and bake a second time until just golden brown.
Here is a simple recipe you can make and enjoy at home. Best of all, the cookies have a long shelf life for extra dunking pleasure.
¾ cup dried currents
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil or Earth’s Best butter softened
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees. Beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add oil or softened butter, orange zest and vanilla and mix together. In a small bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt then add to the sugar mixture and stir. Add the nuts and currents (the nuts can be toasted ahead of time).
Knead dough on floured surface for a couple of minutes. Divide into two pieces and make each piece into a 3 inch wide log.
Place logs on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden.
Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for about five to ten minutes.
Cut logs into diagonal slices, about ½ to ¾ inch wide. Bake 5 minutes, then turn the cookies over and cook another 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store wrapped in waxed paper in a tightly closed container for up to one week. Or double-wrap them to be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
Yields around 40 cookies.
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