Wednesday, October 12, 2011
In Italy, nothing goes better with a cup of espresso than a sweet, crunchy cookie, and the best cookie for the job is Biscotti. Loosely translated, Biscotti are twice baked cookies; the dough is first baked in an oval or log shape, sliced into individual pieces and baked again to achieve the crunchy texture. Variety is certainly the rule for Biscotti; dipped in chocolate or not, candied fruits or chocolate bits, nuts or spices such as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon or cloves.
At one time, you really couldn't find Biscotti unless you went to the local Italian bakery; but now these crispy gems can be found in any coffee establishment such as Starbucks or Seattle's Best; even in the cookie aisle of the local supermarket. Of course, making them yourself gives you the control over taste and ingredients. To get comfortable with the idea of baking Biscotti yourself, I recommend buying a book on them; the one I used to get started, and still do, is "Biscotti" by Lou Seibert Pappas. While I might change ingredients around to get a different variety of Biscotti, using the recipes from this book is a basic starting point.
Considering how many types of candy bits, candied fruits and chopped nuts there are available nowadays; the possibilities are endless. One other idea, consider savory ingredients for a Biscotti which can then be used for dipping in soups or stews. Happy Baking!