This time of year I tend to go on a flour and sugar bender that results in mountains of cookies. As much as I love my gingerbread men and sugar cookies, in recent years I have become partial to the more sophisticated cookies. Enter: the biscotto (pl. biscotti)
Biscotti literally means “twice-baked” in Italian as evidenced by their two-step baking process.
The bright and lemony dough is laced with pistachios and dried cherries. The green pistachios and red cherries represent the colors of the season and, as I like to think, the Italian flag.I especially love them because they are not much more difficult to make than a drop cookie and are always a crowd-pleaser. It is a light, simple dessert to end your meal of prime rib and lasagna (my Christmas is multi-cultural).
Buon Natale Biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cherries
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time along with the lemon zest, add flour-baking-powder-salt mix and mix until just combined, then fold in the pistachios and dried cherries.
Drop the dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet
And using damp hands, shape into a log.
A 13 x 3 inch log to be exact.
Bake the log for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until light golden.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes
Transfer to a cutting board and slice the baked log on a bias into 1/2-inch slices.
Next, place the sliced cookies back on their respective baking sheets, face up.
Return to the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
Biscotti were originally popular among the Romans because they had a long shelf life and allowed for long days of travel. These days, the dryness of the cookie lends well to dipping. Preferably in a cup of coffee and ideally in un cappuccino!
Buon natale/Merry Christmas!
P.S. Buon appetito!