Another recipe for Houston, Biscotti di Prato

What’s better, dipping biscotti into vin santo, a nice fortified wine, or into coffee? I’d almost say the latter, but both are good. These cookies are hard. It is an interesting recipe with its double baking, its 6 eggs, but only one stick of butter to a kilo (7 cups) of flour, and a shocking 4 cups of sugar, or 800 grams. Purists might separate the whites and whip them. The recipe in the cookbook actually calls for 3 whole eggs, and three yolks (tuorli), but I don’t mess with that kind of thing unless it is essential. I’m just not into egg white omelets – life is too short to skip the sublime yolks.

Biscotti are expensive if you don’t make them yourself, and they don’t taste nearly as good, so learn to make them! They taste really different if they have vanilla as compared to orange peel, or lemon peel, so you really should try all three. You could grind an entire vanilla pod in your spice grinder – surely you have one – and add it to the rum for super deliciousness. I did just that tonight.

The trouble with this recipe is the dough is very sticky, and oven times are only approximate. They harden a little out of the oven, so don’t worry if they don’t seem rock hard at first. I just mix everything together with a mixer, or my hands, my sticky hands.

Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C.

Mix

7 cups flour (1 kilo)

4 cups sugar (800 grams)

6 eggs

1/2 cup butter (100 grams)

4 teaspoons baking powder (20 grams)

1 teaspoon salt (6 grams)

1/2 cup vin santo or rum

1/4 cup water

a teaspoon of vanilla, or a ground up pod OR rind of one lemon OR rind of one orange

To this sticky dough, add:

5 cups almonds that are extra delicious if pretoasted in the oven, but I don’t usually bother (600 grams)

Shape into 4 logs, place on cookie sheets and bake at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes, until firm to touch.

Use pastry spatula to move loaf to cutting board and slice.

Place slices back on cookie sheet and bake another 30 to 40 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy, or give away.

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This is my favorite Tuscan cookbook. Rita gave it to me.

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I don’t follow this recipe exactly

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This is the card I use, but it is explained better up above.

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Biscotti dough is sticky.

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Throw on a lot of almonds! Toast them first if you are a perfectionist!

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That pastry scraper is really handy with this sticky dough.

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These are going to expand!

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OK, that was a bit much. The next batch was smaller.

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Slice them up!

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Bake them some more to dry them out.

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OK, some got a little burnt, but the boys loved them anyway.

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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