Maybe it has to do with our recent Roman holiday or maybe it’s the lovely Italian cookbook I got while in Rome but for the last few days, I can only dream of Italian food. And that’s how on a cold and gloomy day like yesterday, it felt just right to fill the kitchen (in our case kitchen and living area) with the smell of baking.
It was not until I visited Italy that I realised that the word ‘biscotti’ is just Italian for cookie. I’ve made biscotti before using a great recipe from the Joy of Baking website. However, this time round, I decided to follow one from my latest cookbook (Traditional Italian Cooking by Gabriella Rossi – a handy book choc a bloc with authentic Italian recipes in various categories) especially for measurements of the basic ingredients and modified it by adding pistachios and nuts. The original recipe was for a coffee biscotti and what I ended up creating were some real nutty, crunchy yet soft cookies 😉
Pistachio & Mixed Nut Biscotti (recipe adapted from ‘Traditional Italian Cooking’ by Gabriella Rossi)
200g plain flour (farine de ble if you’re in France)
1.5 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
125g mixed chopped nuts
a handful of chopped pistachios
75g butter, cubed
150g caster sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract or essence
2 medium eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 180C (conventional). Grease and line a baking sheet. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the caster sugar followed by the vanilla extract/essence and eggs.
Knead lightly until a soft dough is formed. Divide into two balls. Roll each ball out with your hands on a lightly floured surface to form a fairly uniform log. Place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the other ball of dough.
Place the sheet in the oven and bake for around 20-25 minutes until the dough feels firm and is well coloured. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 160C. Let the logs cool for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, place each roll onto a cutting board and cut it into equally wide slices on the diagonal.
Place each slice cut side down on the baking sheet and put it back in the oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes, remove from oven, turn all slices over and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the cookies at this stage as they could get too dark and taste burnt if left in the oven for too long.
Remove from oven, place cookies on a wire rack and let it cool completely before transferring to your cookie jar.
I got around 20 biscotti from this recipe but the number could vary depending on how you roll out the dough and how thick or thin the cookies are cut. Either way, you’ll have enough to pass around.
A perfectly satisfying home made treat for with those mid-day cuppas. Enjoy!