People in love with the Italian way of life, please continue to read. Others, ermm... you could still read and maybe fall in love with it after. I'm talking vespas, the charming language that makes even the frequently thrown in cuss word sound so sweet, water fountains dotting every other piazza, parmigiano cheese, authentic thin crust pizzas, charming Italian men, olives, Tiramisù, the mafiosi you've fascinated about in Mario Puzo novels, Gucci, serenades, the Mediterranean coast, the omnipresent gelatos, statues stamping the presence of Renaissance art... well, all these visuals make me very happy. Italy is definitely top on my list of countries to visit. Since a visa, finances and leaves from office (not necessarily in that order) are in the way of my dream right now, i'm going to make my peace with it by exploring Italian cuisine. and second in the series to the Tiramisù, we try the biscotti. (Dadada da da!! à la Sheldon)
The biscotti is a a twice baked biscuit originating in Italy. They are uniquely oblong shaped, crisp biscuits made in many combinations such as chocolate and almond, pistachio and white chocolate, cranberry and white chocolate etc...the possibilities are truly endless. Double baked because the loaf of cookie dough is baked once as a whole and then it is taken out of the oven, sliced into oblong shapes and then baked again. It is hard and has a domed top and a flat bottom, designed for dunking into coffee.
I made mini sized ones and tried using a combination of Ghirardelli white chocolate chips and almonds. Please feel free to improvise with the combinations and make it your own. The recipe i used was adapted from here with changes.
50 g blanched whole almonds
60 g of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
115 g of flour
a pinch of salt
half cup of white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 150 C and toast the almonds till light brown in color. Set aside to cool and once cooled, chop coarsely.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and keep aside.
Cream the egg and sugar till pale and fluffy
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the chopped almonds and white chocolate chips.
Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and roll into a log shape. You may have to flour your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky. Place on your baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 165 C.
Cut the log diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Place the biscotti cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes, flip it over and bake for another 8 minutes. Remove from the tray and once cool, store in air tight containers.