Biscotti are twice baked biscuits.
I baked some biscotti as a treat to bring to a Christmas gathering with my friends. I added pistachios so there would be bits of green to give it a bit of a Christmas theme. A few people commented that they wanted to have the biscotti with a good coffee. Being a very dry biscuit, it’s good for dunking in a coffee.
(Recipe adapted from biscotti recipes from Joy of Baking)
• 2/3 cup blanched whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
• ½ cup unsalted pistachios kernels, toasted and coarsely chopped
• 2/3 cup caster sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 ¾ cup flour
• finely grated zest of 1 lemon
To toast almonds and pistachios – preheat oven to 180C. Toast for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and coarsely chop. Set aside. The flavour of the nuts intensifies when toasted. I love taking out of the oven freshly toasted nuts, the smell is wonderful and you can really taste the difference.
Beat sugar and eggs with electric mixer in a bowl until thick and pale, around 4-5 minutes. Then beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl, shift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Fold in the almonds and pistachios.
On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and lightly knead until dough is smooth. Divide the mixture in half and form into two logs by rolling the roll into a cylinder shape and then patting it down (flour your hands as you shape the logs as the dough can be sticky). Transfer the logs onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C until light brown and firm to touch. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer the logs to a cutting board and cut into 1.5cm slices. Reduce the oven to 160C. Place the biscotti back on the baking sheet and bake for a second time to draw out the moisture to produce a toasted, crisp and dry biscuit. Bake for 7-10 minutes, then turn slices over and bake for another 7-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool. As the biscotti have been baked twice, they become very dry and can be stored for a long time. The biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
The amount of time for the second baking depends on how you like your biscotti, the longer you bake the biscotti, the more crisp and crunchier they will be. They will be drier and also have a longer shelf life.
Some recipes use butter or oil which may give it a bit more flavour but the biscotti will be a bit softer and not keep as long. Traditional recipes just use eggs to bind the ingredients together.