(Pardon the picture quality folks. This was the best I could do after I recovered from my “what the hell did my computer just do” meltdown.)
For quite some time, biscotti making proved to be the bane of my existence.
No matter how hard I tried, whenever I took the pan out of the oven after the first bake, I always ended up with an unappetizing blob of dough. Or when the dough decided to be nice and not spread all over the place, it was really a trick. Because the minute I started slicing it, it fell apart into a crumby mess. Enough to drive a chica crazy! I thought about throwing in the white flag but it became my mission to beat biscotti at this game it was playing with me.
I tried again after seeing the many biscotti recipes in Alice Medrich’s Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, aka, my new cookie bible. I’m a huge cookie lover and married a cookie monster. So this book has proved invaluable. Not only does it have tons of great cookie recipes but all sort of useful tips, which helped me win my battle against the biscotti.
Two bits proved the most helpful for me. First, when scraping the dough on to your baking pan, form it into a narrow log or rectangle. It’s it too wide, you will end up with a blob of dough. And thoroughly annoyed. And after you slice the dough, instead of standing them up like little soldiers, lay them flat for extra crunch and toasty flavor. My cookie monster thoroughly enjoyed the extra bite, which made them perfect for dunking into coffee.
For more tips, get the book people. You won’t regret it.
And no, Alice Medrich (or her peeps) didn’t pay me to say that.
Cornmeal and Olive Oil Biscotti with Walnuts
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (3.67 ounces) cornmeal
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup (4.625 ounces) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1 1/3 cups (4.5 ounces) walnut halves, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
Whisk the flour, cornmeal and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the olive oil, sugar, salt, eggs and lemon zest on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightened in color and slightly thickened.
Stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be thick and sticky. Stir in the walnuts. Scrape the batter down the center of the prepared pan and use wet hands spread it to form a log 14 to 15 inches long and 3 inches wide.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the log is golden on top and golden brown at the lower edges. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Set the pan on a rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Leave the oven on, turning it down to 325°F.
Transfer the loaf carefully to a cutting board. If you used a liner, slide a metal spatula under the loaf to detach and remove the liner. Use a thin sharp knife to cut the loaf crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Transfer the slices to the unlined cookie sheet, standing them at least 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges and tops of the biscotti turn slightly golden. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Set the pan on a rack. Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.