For a family cookout, I was asked to bring dessert, which if I’m being honest, is my favorite food course. Not wanting to have to bring plates, bowls or utensils, I decided a plateful of cookies sounded just about right. And along with a chocolate-based cookie and a nut-based one, I felt like a more citrusy-based cookie might make a good contrast.
Biscotti are one of the most enjoyable bakes I do. They honor my Italian heritage and once a base cookie has been mastered, the flavor combinations are endless. This is a terrific recipe from King Arthur Baking, even though purists would scoff that does not involve flipping the cookies from one side to the other mid-way through a second bake. I have always used the technique of putting the cookies upright on a second bake; for me the biscotti turn out with a consistently and evenly baked crispiness.
For this bake, I left out the almonds to accommodate some with allergies or sensitivities.
For the Biscotti
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- grated rind of 1 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon)-I used about twice that
- 3/4 to 1 1/4 teaspoons almond extract, to taste (From KA: *3/4 teaspoon will give you the merest hint of almond; if you’re fond of that flavor, use the greater amount of extract)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (241g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
For the Glaze
- 1/2 cup (57g) confectioners’ or glazing sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice powder (The powder is a KA product, but I prefer using lemon juice)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons milk (If using lemon juice, additional milk may not be needed)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) one large (about 18″ x 13″) baking sheet.
- In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, lemon rind, almond extract, and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the lemon juice and eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled.
- At low speed of your mixer, add the flour, stirring until smooth; the dough will be sticky.
- Scrape the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Shape it into a log that’s about 13″ long x 3″ wide x 3/4″ thick. Straighten the log, and smooth its top and sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper works well here.
- Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool on the pan anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 325°F.
- (This is a step I don’t use) Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water, lightly but thoroughly spritz the log, making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Softening the crust just this little bit will make slicing the biscotti much easier. (If you do spritz, you may want to follow the KA suggestion of waiting another 5 minutes before slicing)
- Use a serrated knife to cut the log crosswise into 1/2″ slices.
- Set the biscotti on edge on the prepared baking sheet. Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden around the edges. Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
- To make glazed biscotti: Combine the confectioners’ or glazing sugar with the lemon juice powder and milk; drizzle over cooled biscotti.
- Store completely cool biscotti at room temperature, well wrapped, for a couple of weeks. Freeze for longer storage.