Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spiced Biscotti

It's funny how during the five weeks we were without a working oven, all I could think about was baked goodies and dinners cooked in an oven. I had a huge list of cookies I wanted to bake. Then the new oven arrived and suddenly, I couldn't decide which baked goodie to make, nothing sounded good, and all my dinner ideas involved the grill or crock pot.

Maybe I felt that our first baked treat had to be extra special. I don't know. Somehow, trying to erase the memories of those dry, hard madeleines and super flat chocolate chip cookies didn't seem appealing. Maybe I was afraid it was us, baker error, and not the oven. What if we had suddenly lost our baking skills?
I flipped through all our cookbooks. I didn't know what I wanted, I just knew I wasn't seeing anything I wanted, but then I found it: a Spiced Biscotti recipe in Baking Illustrated. It just felt right. The warming fall flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Being able to dunk the crisp cookie in hot tea.

Much like in Cook's Illustrated magazine, Baking Illustrated always talks about how they arrive at the final recipe and what they were looking for in the dish. I learned that the fat content influences the crispiness of biscotti. Some biscotti contain butter, which makes them more cookie-like (softer) but still crunchy. Most use eggs only. Some use egg whites only, which makes for a very dry & crispy biscotti. This recipe used 2 eggs plus 2 yolks. These are crispier than past biscotti we've baked. SP can crunch right through an undunked biscotti, but I prefer to dunk mine.
The dough is quick and easy to make. No need for a stand mixer or hand mixer. Kind of like making muffins: whisk all the dry ingredients. Whisk the sugar and eggs together. Add vanilla and dry ingredients. Shape into logs and bake. Cool a bit, slice, and bake slices.

I don't know if it's the new oven or our baking, but these turned out amazing. I sort of wish I could taste more cinnamon than the clove flavor, but these are spiced biscotti, not cinnamon biscotti. They cooked nice & even - no extra browning on any sides. They even took the entire 35 minutes to bake - not like recent past cookies we made that were browned and near burning after only half the baking time.
These are definitely a hit in our house. They might even make it onto the Christmas Cookie list.

Spiced Biscotti
recipe from Baking Illustrated

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground white or black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and egg yolks until a light lemon color. Stir in the vanilla. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, just until combined. Divide in half and shape each half into a 13x2 inch loaf. Bake about 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time, until just starting to crack on top. Cool for 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 325 degrees. Cut each cooled loaf into 3/8 inch slices. Arrange on baking sheet and return to oven. Bake 15 minutes, turning cookies over halfway through baking time, until crisp and golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.


  1. Mmm- kind of like the spice slices I just made, but mine are more like a shortbread. I can't stop eating them, they're so good!

    Hope you're doing fine in the snowy weather! :)