I’ve been baking biscotti every Christmas for at least the last ten years. I started baking this cookie after getting tired of paying an arm and leg for one little slice at the local coffee shop.
In 2006, when we toured Italy I couldn’t wait to try real biscotti. I found out quickly that what we call biscotti is generic for cookies. The specific twice-baked cookie I was looking for and what I bake is called cantuccini. Also these cookies are small, usually about 2 inches long, instead of the supersized 5 inches or so that we have come to know as biscotti. Since returning from that trip, I try to make my biscotti small, like the true Italian cookie I enjoyed in that wonderful country.
If you are wondering if they are hard to make, they aren’t. They just take a little patience. Every year I try different recipes, always on the lookout for the “perfect” one. Last year I experimented with going eggless by substituting 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water for each egg. That one ended in the trash, just one of the many flops I’ve encountered on my quest for cantuccini perfection.
This year I found a new recipe, Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti, in the March 09 issue of Cooking Light. It includes flaxseed, something I like to incorporate in our diet. However, it doesn’t specific ground. From my research I’ve found that whole flaxseed doesn’t provide any health benefits since it passes right through the body. Even though I knew that, I decided to follow the directions and reframe from getting out the grinder. The only change I made in the recipe is the substitution of KA White Whole Wheat flour for the regular whole wheat.
These cookies have a great flavor, but due to the short baking time they aren’t as hard as hubby likes. Comparing this recipe with my traditional one, these cookies are baked for only 42 total minutes, instead of the 70 minutes. I am sure if I add the extra time I can have that harder cookie which is better for dunking in the morning Joe.
If you’ve never tried making cantuccini, I encourage you to do so. It’s easy, different from other cookie gifts, and everyone thinks you are a great baker!
I’m planning on making some biscotti for my Christmas Cookie Baskets this year. A friend of mine makes biscotti all the time and she uses an electric knife to cut hers and the pieces are so uniform and nice. I’ve been looking for an electric knife at the local garage sales and hopefully will find one soon!
I really never had trouble cutting it unless I didn’t wait for it to cool. However, an electric knife would make the process much easier.