Like many a food thing, there’s some dispute over its first appearance. Though it is often attributed to Italian bakers, apparently the Romans made biscotti for its longevity on journeys and conquests. There are reports of Christopher Columbus having a stash of biscotti on his exploration trips.
The word comes from Latin “bis” for twice and “coctum” or “cotto” meaning cooked. Biscotti is a twice-baked treat, first to set the dough and second to remove moisture. This ensures a long shelf life without molding. Apparently Pliny the Elder (AD 24-79), Roman naturalist and military commander, joked that biscotti “would be edible for centuries.”
Biscotti is most often dipped in coffee, and Italians enjoy it with sweet wine. Almond is a common flavor because almonds are plentiful in Italy where biscotti won awards and enjoyed a resurgence in the 1800s. Each of these recipes has been baked many times in the editorial headquarters of New River Valley Magazine. Joanne intentionally removes them from each baking 3-5 minutes early, so they are not rock hard. You can use walnuts, pecans or almonds and drizzle with melted chocolate for pizzazz.
Cranberry Almond Biscotti
Preheat oven to 325°.
• ½ cup of butter
• ¾ cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 2 cups flour
• 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 1 ½ cups Post Selects Cranberry Almond Crunch
cereal (somewhat crushed)
Beat butter and sugar then beat in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Divide dough in half and form two long logs, about a quarter as wide as long, on greased cookie sheet. Bake 25-30 min. Cool 10 min. on rack. Cut each log diagonally with serrated knife about ¾” thick and place cut side down on cookie sheet. Return to oven for 10-12 minutes, until ever so slightly browned.
3 ¼ cups flour
1 Tbl. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup butter, melted
1 ½ cups walnuts
6 oz semisweet chocolate (optional glaze)
Grate 2 Tbl. lemon peel and squeeze 2 Tbl. juice. Whisk or lightly mix sugar, butter, eggs, lemon peel + juice. Add dry ingredients, then nuts. Divide dough in half and make a log one quarter as wide as long. These spread, so using two cookie sheets is advised.
Bake at 350°18-22 minutes. Cool on racks 10-20 min. Lower temp to 325° and bake diagonally cut slices 12-15 min.