Monday, December 24, 2012

cornmeal biscotti.

As a half-Italian I fully embrace coffee and all things coffee related.  I have a hard time adapting to the American mentality of chugging overly sweetened chain-brand coffee at the crack of dawn in an effort to wake up and survive another work-day.  I much prefer the Italian mentality of leisurely enjoying an afternoon espresso in a tiny white cup with a matching saucer and a side of subtly sweet cookies while reading the newspaper (or doing absolutely nothing).  I barely have time to eat my lunch, so I don't foresee myself having the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing afternoon cup of coffee on a daily basis so I save that for the weekends when I can spend an hour devouring cookbooks and eating biscotti dunked in frothy coffee.  I have tried many biscotti recipes but the below version from David Lebovitz's blog is my current favorite.  The small addition of butter makes these a little less toothsome then many other recipes which is something I love.  The cornmeal provides a wonderful textured crunch in every bite and the addition of the tart dried cherries provides a nice fruity tang.  The below recipe makes a plethora of cookies which is great for gift-giving and they can also be stored for weeks at a time making them the perfect cookie to have on hand when friends stop by for an spontaneous afternoon visit.  

Cornmeal Biscotti
Recipe via David Lebovitz

About 60 Cookies

1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
1/2 cup (70g) cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons (55g) melted butter (salted or unsalted)
1 cup (100g) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
½ cup (60 grams) dried sour cherries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla or almond extract. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the beaten eggs. Add the butter, then mix until the dough is wet and crumbly. Add the nuts and cherries and stir to get them mixed well into the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead a few times until smooth. Divide the dough in two, and roll each portion into a 13-inch (33cm) long, then transfer them to the baking sheet. Leave ample space between the two logs as the dough will spread a bit during baking.

Bake the logs for 20 minutes, or until they feel set. Remove them from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat of the oven to 250ºF (120ºC.)

Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the longs crosswise into individual cookies, each about 1/3-inch (1cm.) Place the biscotti on the baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the biscotti from the oven and turn each one over, then continue to cook for 10 to 20 minutes more, until golden brown.

Let cookies cool completely, then store in an airtight container. These biscotti will keep for at least two weeks.

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