The classic Italian cookie is best homemade.
Packed with nutty flavor and perfect crunch, biscotti are the quintessential cookie to dunk in a cup of coffee or a mug of hot chocolate. The dough is first shaped in a log and baked before being sliced to bake again. Hazelnuts are a classic choice, but almonds or pistachios would work just as well. You can even replace the vanilla extract with almond or orange extract, or add citrus zest, as an enhanced accent. Add dried fruits like cranberries or apricots to the dough, or dip the finished product in chocolate for a special touch.
Equipment: cutting board; serrated knife; dry measuring cups; measuring spoons; standing or hand mixer; mixing bowls; parchment paper or silicone baking sheets; sheet pans; pastry brush; offset spatula; cooling rack
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ cups sugar
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups toasted hazelnuts (skins removed), coarsely chopped
1 egg white, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rack in the middle position. Line two cookie sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixture, beat the sugar, and butter for one minute until thoroughly combined and creamy. Add one egg at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract, then mix in the flour mixture. Stir in the hazelnuts.
4. Divide the dough evenly in half. Shape each piece of dough into a log approximately 10 inches by 2½ inches, about ¾ inch high, using floured hands. Place the logs on a lined sheet pan and brush the tops and sides with the beaten egg white. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.
5. Remove the biscotti logs from the oven and cool completely on the sheet pan before carefully removing to a cutting board, approximately 1 hour.
ILOC tip: slice the dough crosswise for smaller biscotti; slice the dough on bias for larger biscotti.
6. Slice the dough with a serrated knife into ¼-inch slices. Place the biscotti sliced side-down on the lined sheet pans, two inches apart. Bake the biscotti in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, and turn over the biscotti. Return the sheet pan to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes.
7. Transfer the biscotti to a cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes before serving or storing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Makes approximately 24 biscotti.