CIAO BISCOTTI: Sweet and Savory Recipes Celebrating Italy’s Favorite Cookie

Domenica Marchetti Antonis Achilleos

Chronicle Books
March 2015
$18.95/hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4521-2495-7

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Domenica-Marchetti-by-Olga-Berman

Domenica Marchetti is the author of five books, most recently The Glorious Vegetables of Italy (also published by Chronicle Books). Her articles about Italian home cooking have appeared in Food & Wine, Fine Cooking, the Washington Post, and many other publications. She is also the creator of popular food blog DomenicaCooks.com.

Studded with nuts, dappled in chocolate, or dotted with dried fruit, biscotti, Italy’s unique twice-baked cookies, have a crunchy, toasty, enduring appeal. Perfect for dunking into coffee, tea, or Vin Santo, they’re easy to make and transform a simple bowl of ice cream or sorbet into a special dessert. With savory ingredients swapped for the sweet ones, biscotti are a delicious accent to a cheese platter.

Enjoy traditional flavors such as Hazelnut or Anise, coffeehouse neo-classics like Cranberry-Pistachio, tempting new versions such as Browned Butter and Toblerone, or savory ones, including Mountain Gorgonzola and Walnut, and taste the perfection of a classic cookie. With colorful stripes, poppy patterns, and adorable illustrated photographs, CIAO BISCOTTI gives these delicious treats the festive treatment they deserve!

Chocolate-Studded

Makes about 48 biscotti

Ciao-Biscotti_Chocolate-Studded

Instead of nuts, these two-bite biscotti are studded with pieces of bittersweet chocolate. This recipe started out as a favor to my son, who doesn’t love nuts in baked goods. I was skeptical—after all, nuts, especially almonds, are considered a central ingredient in biscotti. Turns out, though, the kid was right. These biscotti make great dunkers.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups/255 g unbleached all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup/150 g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoons/70 g unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-in/12-mm pieces, at cool room temperature
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 oz/115 g bittersweet chocolate, cut into small chunks

Heat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Lightly coat an 11-by-17-in/28-by-43-cm rimmed baking sheet with the oil.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly on low speed. Add the butter in pieces and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture looks like damp sand. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the beaten eggs. Pour the remaining eggs, the almond extract, and vanilla into the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough has formed. Add the chocolate chunks and mix on low speed just until incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Divide it into quarters. Lightly moisten your hands with water and gently roll one portion of dough into a rough oval. Place it crosswise on the baking sheet and use your hands and fingers to stretch and pat the dough into a log about 1 1/2 in/4 cm wide and 9 in/23 cm long. Shape the remaining pieces of dough in the same way, moistening your hands as necessary. Set the logs crosswise on the baking sheet, leaving at least 2 in/5 cm between them. Press down on the logs to flatten them out a bit and make the tops even. Lightly brush the tops of the logs with the reserved beaten egg.

Bake the logs for 20 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and just set—they should be springy to the touch and there should be cracks on the surface. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Gently slide an offset spatula under each log to loosen it from the baking sheet. Let the logs cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer them to the racks and let cool for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C.

Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and, using a Santoku knife or a serrated bread knife, cut them on the diagonal into 3/4-in-/2-cm-thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut-side up, on the baking sheet (in batches if necessary) and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 9 to 10 minutes, until they are crisp. Transfer the slices to the rack to cool completely. The biscotti will keep for up to 10 days in an airtight container stored at room temperature.

What to drink: Vin Santo, espresso, or a glass of cold milk.


Smoky Gouda

Makes about 30 biscotti

Ciao-Biscotti_Smoky-Gouda

Smoked paprika may not be Italian,but it’s one of my favorite savory spices. I love it sprinkled on roast potatoes, in egg salad, insoups and stews, and in these fragrant biscotti. I wanted to underline that smoky flavor, so I added a generous quantity of smoked Gouda cheese to the mix.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1⁄2 cups/185 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup/60 g whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimentón)
1⁄2 cup/55 g pecan halves
1 cup/115 g grated smoked Gouda cheese
4 tablespoons/55 g unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-in/12-mm pieces, at cool room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half

Heat the oven to 350°F/180° C. Lightly coat an 11-by-17-in/28-by-43-cm rimmed baking sheet with the vegetable oil.

Combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, sweet paprika, and smoked paprika in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly on low speed. Add the pecans and mix to combine and to break up the nuts into small pieces. Add the cheese and mix briefly on low to combine. Add the butter in pieces and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture looks like damp sand. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the beaten eggs. Combine the remaining eggs with the olive oil and milk and pour into the mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough has formed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Divide it in half. Lightly moisten your hands with water and gently roll one portion of dough into a rough oval. Place it lengthwise on one half of the baking sheet and use your hands and fingers to stretch and pat the dough into a log about 2 1/2 in/6 cm wide and 12 in/30 cm long. Shape the second piece of dough in the same way, moistening your hands as necessary. Press down on the logs to flatten them out a bit and make the tops even. Brush the reserved egg over the tops of the logs.

Bake the logs for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and just set—they should be springy to the touch and there should be cracks on the surface. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Gently slide an offset spatula under each log to loosen it from the baking sheet. Let the logs cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer them to the rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F/165°C.

Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and, using a Santoku knife or a serrated bread knife, cut them on the diagonal into 1/2-in-/12-mm-thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut-side up, on the baking sheet (in batches if necessary) and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until they are crisp and golden. Transfer the slices to the rack to cool completely. The biscotti will keep for up to 10 days in an airtight container stored at room temperature.

What to drink: Dolcetto di Dogliani, a smoky red wine from Piedmont, if you can find it. Otherwise, Dolcetto d’Alba.


These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from CIAO BISCOTTI by Domenica Marchetti. (Chronicle Books March 2015; $18.95/hardcover; ISBN; 978-1-4521-2495-7).  www.chroniclebooks.com

Contact: David Hawk
(415) 537-4276
David_Hawk@chroniclebooks.com


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