Sunday, February 12, 2012


When we think of biscotti, we usually conjure up the hardtack like cookie that comes alongside a cappuccino or an espresso.  The word biscotti means cookies, so not every biscotti is hard, and saw-dust like.  Biscotti can be filled cookies, with pastes of dried fruits and nuts, they can be rolled cookies at Christmas time, or they can be crispy (note, not hardtack) to be dipped into a dessert wine.  The shape of the biscotti we see in the US is a traditional shape used to dip into a wine glass, but biscotti come in many shapes and sizes.
This week our family from Italy was here in San Diego for a visit, and after lunch I served an assortment of biscotti along with fresh fruit for dessert.

The chocolate and pistachio biscotti (which are not pictured above since they were scarfed down in minutes) were the winner, and that recipe is so darned easy, the dough can be made ahead and frozen, and you can make and bake them and then freeze them for snacking any time. The dough is so great, you will want to have some in your freezer when you get a yen for sweet and salty chocolate.  Here they are out of the oven. 

I adapted this recipe from one in Fine Cooking Magazine.  Theirs called for cinnamon, and walnuts.  I liked the espresso and pistachio combo and so did everyone else!

Salted Pistachio Chocolate Biscotti
Makes about 40

 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon espresso powder 
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups chopped roasted salted pistachios 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Add the egg, espresso powder, and vanilla, and beat until combined.  Gently stir together flour, cocoa powder, and pistachios, until the mixture is well combined.  Shape the dough into a log 1 1/2-inch in diameter.  Refrigerate for 4 hours. (the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months---defrost in the refrigerator overnight before baking)  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line 3 baking sheets with silpats, aluminum foil or parchment.   Remove the dough from the refrigerator and slice 1/4-inch thick, and arrange on the baking sheets 1-inch apart.  Bake the cookies 8 to 10 minutes, the pistachios should begin to color, and the edges of the cookies will begin to set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, before removing from the cookie sheets to cool completely on racks.  The baked cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 6 weeks. 
Buon Appetito!

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