Friends of ours have been in Venice recently for a wedding, and I have jealously been stalking their Facebook picture postings. I went to Italy briefly as a teen, while I was living in Norway as an exchange student.
For me, Italy held up to every expectation I had. It was beautiful, the people were friendly and warm, and the food was delicious! One thing I remember clearly was getting biscotti cookies to dip into my dark, rich Italian coffee.
Once I decided to make some biscotti, I started looking for a recipe. I found more variations than I had thought possible. I decide on a basic cookie, and figured I could make variations over time.
The recipe is simple, and mixes together quite quickly. The recipe called for two four by ten inch logs. I ended up making mine one giant log probably five inches by twelve inches. I put it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and baked for 25 minutes until the top was lightly browned. I pulled the paper off onto a cutting board and let it sit until it was cool enough to touch.
Using a sharp, large knife, I cut straight through the cookie from the top, and placed the cookie on its side back on the parchment lined baking sheet. I repeated until the log was gone, then baked on each side for a additional 7 minutes each.
Once the cookies had completely cooled, I melted chocolate chips using a small glass bowl fit tightly inside a saucepan and over medium-high heat until the water vapor causes the chips to melt (this method is called a double broiler). I dipped side in the chocolate and swooshed it around, then used a small spatula to even out the chocolate before laying it cookie side down on another piece of parchment paper.
Eat by dipping in coffee or hot chocolate.
•1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, softened
•1 cup granulated sugar
•2 large eggs
•1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
•2-3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
•1 teaspoon baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Cream the sugar and butter together until fluffy, add the eggs one at a time along, and then add the extract. Scrape your bowl if needed to make sure everything is smoothly mixed and incorporated. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl. Add it gradually to the creamed mixture and mix just until a dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and rub your hands with a little flour. Divide the dough in two and form each half into a log about 4 inches wide by 10 inches long. Bake on parchment lined baking sheets until lightly browned and small cracks form on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly on the baking sheets. Transfer the logs to a cutting board. Slice on the diagonal in generous 1/2 inch slices – this is easiest by using a straight down chopping motion with a good santuko or chef’s knife. Place them with the cut side up on parchment lined baking trays and bake another approximately 16-20 minutes or until slightly browned, turning over half way through the baking. Cool completely on a wire rack.