Currently baking out of Great Cookies by Carole Walter
I’m a latecomer to biscotti. I used to turn up my nose at it, because I thought it was only edible if you dunked it. And I’m not a dunker. Of anything. So when I tried my first biscotti, and it was very edible without any dunking, I started looking around at biscotti recipes.
Turns out that not only are biscotti good on their own, they are very, very easy to make. Like this lemon-pine nut version from Great Cookies. And if you don’t like your biscotti dry and crunchy, you simply don’t need to bake it as long during the second baking period!
This recipe starts out by having you toast pine nuts. And Oh. My. God. are pine nuts expensive. I bought just over a cup and it cost me nearly $20. These just might be the most expensive cookies I’ve ever made. Next time, I think the pine nuts will become a garnish.
Anyway, after toasting pine nuts, you beat lemon zest, sugar and butter together, then add vanilla, an egg, an egg yolk and the dry ingredients, which include flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. At the end, most of the cooled pine nuts are stirred into the dough which is patted out into a log on a cookie sheet. The log of dough is brushed with an egg white, and the rest of the pine nuts are sprinkled on top.
The dough gets baked for 18 to 20 minutes, then sliced and baked again until the cookies are toasted and crunchy. To finish off the biscotti, a glaze of powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and corn syrup is drizzled over the top of the warm cookies.
I really liked these biscotti. As I was slicing them for the second baking, I kept nibbling on the ends. I didn’t think they could get any better, but after glazing them, I couldn’t keep my hands off them. They are very lemony, especially with the glaze, but that sharpness goes so well with the mellow pine nuts. I think this dough would make a wonderful scooped cookie if you didn’t want to bother with a double baking.
And that cardamom! I’ve had a jar of powdered cardamom in my cupboard for some time. It smelled like musty sawdust, so I decided to buy a new jar for this recipe. Wow, my old jar must have been ancient, because I never knew how fragrant cardamom was. In this recipe, the cardamom adds a mysterious floral taste. It is hard to identify, but it definitely kicks up the flavor.
Now, if I could just find a source of cheap pine nuts . . .