Most of us know biscotti as those crisp little cookies we munch on while enjoying coffee or tea at our neighborhood cafe. While they may not be the richest or fanciest option, say this for them: compared to most everything else available there, they’re not as sweet. “Biscotti,” of course refers to the fact that they are twice cooked, or twice baked to be more precise. And in fact the English word “biscuit” is a translation of “biscotti” which we borrowed from the French. But I digress. The point of twice baking something is to dry it out, thus greatly extending its shelf life. I’ve read that the Roman Legions carried twice-baked goods as part of their rations.
While there’s no lack of biscotti recipes out there, you may like this one because it’s vegan, naturally sweetened, and contains whole grain flour. This recipe isn’t that difficult, but I won’t lie to you: it’s a bit tricky. Here’s what to do to succeed: 1) keep the dough moist, 2) during the first baking, remove the biscotti from the oven while the loaves are still a little bit moist to the touch in the center, 3) cut while still hot, gingerly, with a very sharp knife, 4) watch carefully so as to bake them to the precise degree of crispness you prefer during the second baking. If you can manage all that, you’re be rewarded with some very nice looking biscotti. These are good plain, but for the chocolate lovers among you, I’m including a recipe for a chocolate sauce which is great for dipping. Recipe, after the jump.
Photo: Who is that woman trying to make off with a whole plate of biscotti? Actually, it is my friend, Ilona Pollac, who manages our Monday night dinners in Palo Alto.