- Posted February 20, 2013 by
This Italian cookie means “twice baked,” which is how they’re made. The dough, which has nuts and sometimes fruits, is formed into a loaf and baked first. Then, it’s sliced into the familiar narrow and elongated half circles before being baked a final time to a beautiful crisp. In Italy, the name biscotti refer to all crunchy cookies in the country, compared to Northern America, where the biscotti refers to the twice baked cookie.
The ancient biscotti were made with a purpose—as sustenance to travellers who made long journeys. According to the Nibble, an online specialty foods magazine, the unleavened, finger-shaped Roman biscotti were “a staple diet of the Roman Legions.”
The biscotti began its leisurely purpose when it was served in Tuscany by a Tuscan baker who partnered it with sweet wine. The practice then in the country was to dip the biscotti in wine before eating, the same way that the biscotti are eaten with coffee. Aside from being dry, the biscotti’s crumbly texture makes it ideal for dunking in both beverages.
The dough shaped into small loaves or logs may be plain butter cookie based, with flecks of dried fruits (like cranberries, cherries, dates, figs, raisin, and even citrus) and chopped nuts (pistachios, cashews, almonds, walnuts, and pecans), or it can be mixed with cocoa to produce a darker cookie. The combinations of flavors and textures can be as creative as the baker could make. Depending on the recipe, the biscotti are flavored with spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, anise and ginger as well as zests from lemon and orange. Traditional biscotti include almond anise biscotti, espresso biscotti, anise biscotti, and Catalan biscotti. These popular cookies have delicious flavors that deepen over time. Keep them in a jar and serve them when the company is good.