Whenever I think cookies, I think only of buttery goodness and sweet sweet sugar. It always seemed more of a treat and guilty pleasure than a healthy snack. After a bit of research, I stumbled across the biscotti and it was the perfect platform to dip my feet in baking in Hong Kong. I’m insanely addicted to all things nuts (ahem*) and the sweetness of fruits with the crunchy texture of nuts is just a match made in heaven! I’m by no means an advanced baker so I like recipes that are simple and fool-proof to follow. For my first batch, I opted with a Lemon Pistachio Biscotti recipe (source: http://www.best-cookie-collection.com).
I love how this cookie has so much texture and taste from the double-baking. A plus that there is no butter or extra fats except the eggs and for fans of a big crunch, you just need to bake it slightly longer and for fans of a chewier texture, you simply need to add a bit of butter to the recipe. The amount of sugar can be adjusted to your taste (I like more sugar with a plain biscotti or less if I intend on making a icing drizzle- recipe at the bottom of page).
You can really play with this recipe and use any nuts you adore (almonds, hazelnuts…), fruit combinations (apricots…), add in your favorite drinks (expresso, matcha) AND for the alcoholic in some of us, twist it up for an adults version (my current love is with limoncello!). It’s a simple recipe and hard to go wrong and works perfectly baked in a toaster oven.
Lovely dipped in coffee or liqueur of your choice, biscotti’s’ are excellent and healthy choice for AM or PM!
LEMON PISTACHIO BISCOTTI RECIPE
Recipe yields around 48 biscottis and they last for 1 – 2 weeks in an airtight sealed container.
– 2 1/4 cups flour
– 1 cup sugar
– 2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
– 1 cup unsalted pistachio nuts un-chopped (can substitute with any nut of your choice! Just make sure it is unsalted)
– 2 large eggs
– 1 egg yolk from large egg
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice (can opt for limoncello for the adult version. I prefer to add a shot and don’t worry it won’t be very strong!)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla (can substitute with almond extract)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (i.e around 162 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking liner.
- In a large bowl combine (either mixer or by hand) flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt until well blended.
- Add the nuts (slow speed on mixer or by hand).
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, egg yolk, lemon juice, and vanilla with a whisk.
- Slowly pour in egg mixture to the flour mixture (slow speed on mixer or by hand).
- Continue stirring until the dough is well blended and begins to form moist clumps (takes around 2 minutes).
- Scrape the dough onto an un-floured clean surface. Lightly dust your hands with flour and knead the dough briefly. Shape the dough into 2 equal sections.
- Shape each section into a 2 inch by 10 inch log. Beware that the dough will be sticky so you may need to add more flour to your hands as you go.
- Transfer the logs onto your prepared baking sheet, spacing them a couple inches apart.
- Bake for around 40 minutes or until the top of the logs are cracked and the dough inside the cracks no longer look wet.
- Take out of oven and place baking sheet to cool for around 15 minutes.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on a slight diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Use a gentle sawing motion to cut through the top crust.
- Place the slices back onto the baking sheet cut side down and this time no need to space the since they will no longer spread.
- Bake the biscotti again at same heat for another 10 – 20 minutes or until they are dried to your taste. Less if you want more chewy and more if you like the big crunch.
- Place baking sheet to cool.
SIMPLE LEMON ICING
– 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
– 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
– 1/4 cup lemon juice (or you can spike it again by replacing with limoncello!)
To make the icing, simply combine all the above ingredients in a small bowl and beat until smooth. You can drizzle over the biscotti or dip one end of it or coat the flat bottom of the cookie and let dry. For this simple icing, feel free to change it up with other flavors, like using orange zest or other juices/ liqueurs to your liking!
Experimenting with this versatile recipe is the best part! Ahhh….loving simplistic recipes!