I'm making a push on the blog for more authentic Italian recipes. If John and I (this is Elana here) are purporting to tell you what quality Italian food should taste like and where to find it, we should perhaps tell you how to make it.
The "making it" falls into my department. John's department involves eating, restaurant reservations, hair styling tips and wallet losing. How many of you have lost your wallet recently? How many times have you lost your wallet in the past year? This is a serious question, people. Because if you lose your wallet you may just have to stay home and eat.
And if you stay home and eat, you may need to know what to make. We would like to be the place you come to for quality Italian recipes.
The above pictured photo of Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti are such an example. Biscotti are traditional Italian cookies so named because they are "twice cooked." You can stuff your biscotti with any number of add-ins. I felt as though the sweet-tart flavor of the Gran Gala soaked cranberries was perfectly complemented by the salty, crunchy pistachios.
Biscotti should be crunchy, not chewy. The make excellent dippers. Into hot chocolate, coffee, chai tea... They should be satisfying and dense. They (being a cookie) are also extremely portable. So you can take them on the go while you retrace your steps to find your lost wallet...
Anyway, here's how they go:
What You Need:
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar in the raw
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons anise seeds
8 ounces (1 cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries soaked in 1/4 cup Gran Gala (an orange liquor - make sure to reserve this and not throw it away, as you will add it to the dough!)
1 cup salted pistachios, roughly chopped
Glaze: 2 egg whites, beaten until foamy
What To Do:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
With an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the the sugar in the raw, granulated sugar and anise seeds. Add this to the flour mixture.
With the mixer on low speed, add the chilled butter, mixing until the pieces are the size of large peas.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, Gran Gala (not including the cranberries - remove those and set them aside) and vanilla extract. Add these wet ingredients to the dough, mixing until just combined.
Add the pistachios and cranberries, blending them into the dough evenly.
The dough will feel sticky. Don't be alarmed! Let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes before shaping it.
Now onto the baking:
Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Cut the dough into quarters. Using as little flour as possible on your work surface, roll each quarter into a log that's 13 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide, working out the air pockets as you go.
Set the logs on the lined baking sheet about 3 inches apart.
Brush the sides and top with the beaten egg whites. Bake until golden brown and firm in the center, about 35 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking process.
Remove from the oven and set the cookies on their baking sheets to cool for about 30 minutes.
Baking Time Part the Second!
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. You can line the baking sheets with fresh parchment if needed.
With a serrated knife, slice the logs into 1/2 inch thick slices, cutting on a bias (slanted).
Lay the sliced cookies flat on the baking sheet.
Bake about 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets if needed.
Flip the cookies over and bake until both sides are a rich golden brown, another 10 to 15 minutes.
Set the baking sheets on racks to cool completely.
You can store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks. But they shouldn't last that long, as you will most likely eat them as soon as possible!
*Based on a recipe found in Fine Cooking Magazine. But we made it ours.