Sunday, February 8, 2009

Biscotti: Round 2

After some discussion with two of my Italian friends it was decided that what I meant by 'biscotti' is what is called 'Cantucci di Siena' in Italy - in other words the stuff that the Italians dip in Vino Santo which has been popularized in the English speaking world as something you dip in coffee.

I had plans to make it today and then yesterday I stupidly forgot to buy eggs.

Talk about dumb. I bought flour, butter and everything else but I forgot to buy eggs.

Anyhow I had exactly 3 more eggs in the refrigerator so I thought I'd go ahead and make it anyway. You should have seen my face when I began to crack the eggs into the bowl and noticed that the third egg was already cracked! And well, on a Sunday - stores are closed.

The blood literally drained away from my face and I stood there immobile for a few seconds while I wondered if 500 g of flour, 300 g of sugar 100 g of butter and 50g of almonds were all going to go to waste because I didn't have enough eggs.

Horror! Pandemonium! Panic!

Anyway I calmed down after awhile and walked to the bar restaurant nearby owned by the president of our community Gabriele and asked them if they would sell me 1 egg - explaining to them what had happened. Fortunately for me Gabriele happened to be there and his hired workers saw me saying 'hola' to him and they gave me an egg and didn't even charge me for it saying I was their neighbor.

I'm telling you, these people saved my day - and my Cantucci di Siena - and I am really really grateful for this.


500g Flour

300 g Sugar

100 g Butter

3 Eggs

1 Tbsp Honey

50 g Broken Almonds

50 g Other Types of Nuts (Optional)

50 g Chocolate (Optional)

1 Tsp Baking Powder

2 Tsp Bitter Almond Extract (the kind suitable for consumption of course!) - Optional

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 C. Take the tray out, because if it gets pre-heated the biscotti will turn very brown on the bottom side.

Step 2: Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar.

Step 3: Add the eggs, softened butter, honey and almonds into the flour and mix with a spoon first and then use your hands to get it to stick all together and make two logs.

Step 4: Bake the logs on oven paper for 20 ~ 25 minutes. I bake mine on the rack that's second from the top for 25 minutes.

Step 5: Remove from the oven and let them cool for 15 minutes.

Step 6: Slice them into 1/2 inch pieces.

Step 7: Lay them on the paper again and bake them for 10 minutes. Turn them over, then bake them for another 10 minutes.

Step 8: Remove them from the oven and cool them and they're ready to go. Pour yourself a Vino Santo or make yourself a coffee and start dipping!

Unlike the previous recipe I tried - the dough was manageable without any modifications and I made 2 logs. The Cantucci di Siena were much softer than the previous 'biscotti' I made after the first baking and I had some trouble slicing it perfectly - even after baking it at 180 C for 25 minutes. You can of course blame the poor quality of my serrated knife and after cutting the first log, I switched to my trusted Wusthof Grand Prix II which did a much better job.

After baking them for 20 minutes they weren't looking very brown at all on top but I turned them over and found that they had browned very much on the bottom side. I think it might be better to turn them after the first 10 minutes and then bake them for another 10 ~15 minutes. In fact that's how I'm going to do it when I make them again.

The flavor was much better this time and I think that all I need to do is to make sure I turn them over faster. I'm quite happy with this recipe. Thanks Valeria!

Note: Recipe courtesy of my friend Valeria Bandini.


Elra said...

I normally blame the recipe, if it doesn't turn out as I want it to be.
Seems like you satisfied enough with the recipe this time.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

This time the flavor of the biscotti was much better. I think I'll try making David Lebovitz's one soon since I've got the cocoa now. But now I don't have any eggs!

Siri said...

Hi there! I just wanted to say that I give you vote for one of the most clever food blog titles of all-time- that is, if there were such a thing.

Murasaki Shikibu said...



Sweet neighbors :-)

Murasaki Shikibu said...

This biscotti recipe is the one I make regularly now. It's so easy to make and the honey flavor is just lovely. :)