Friday, May 28, 2010


Many years ago on CityLine - Canada's longest running lifestyle show - Sandra Pittana, the fashion expert who is a regular guest on the show, deviated from the norm of fashionista and from her kitchen showed how she made her favourite recipe for biscotti. This particular recipe yields quite of lot of cookies so the dough can be divided into two or three bowls to which you can add different ingredients such as almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, cranberries, dried cherries, chocolate chips or any combination thereof, and end up with three different flavoured biscotti. Of course I knew that I would try this recipe, and although I’d been making biscotti for a while, after trying these any prior recipe became history and this one became my favourite. Until recently.

As Ontarians we have to buy our liquor from the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). Yes, our government has total control of the liquor sold here, and why would they give that up to privatization? After all, the LCBO is a cash cow for them. Now that I got that off my chest, I will say that the LCBO has two pluses: one is that the stores are really beautiful and wonderful to shop from (not like the old dowdy establishments they use to run years ago, where you would hand a requisition with a list of liquor you wanted to purchase to a clerk who in turn would go to the back to retrieve your bottles) with well stocked aisles of every kind of liquor and wine you might want, including a vintage section. Some of the stores offer taste samples and run cooking classes as well. The second is that they put out the Food and Drink magazine about six times a year, a beautiful glossy magazine with great recipes and gorgeous mouth watering photos to whet your appetite and it’s free. You can check out their website for all their past issues’ recipes.

In the recent “Early Summer 2010” issue in the Techniques 101 section of the magazine was a recipe for Biscotti. The photos begged to be made and it was an easy recipe to put together as well. This recipe called for dried cherries but since I’m not so crazy about them, I thought I would substitute them with cranberries which I prefer. When I started the recipe, I realized I didn’t have any on hand, so I opted for currants instead which I like as well and thankfully had on hand.
You basically mix the dry ingredients along with the nuts and fruit in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another and mix the two together. The dough is slightly wetter than the one in Sandra Pittana’s recipe so I found that rubbing some oil on your hands before shaping helps to keep all the sticky dough off your hands. After you have shaped them into two ovals along the width of the sheet pan you bake them for about 35 minutes. After cooling slightly you cut them into 1/2” slices and bake again to dry them, very easy. The biscotti were delicious and a couple of days later I made them again with cranberries. This time I shaped the dough along the length of the pan so that when you sliced the loaves the biscotti were a bit smaller in length. They were also very good.
So now I have two recipes for biscotti that I love. One yields more biscotti and you can easily divide the dough to add different nuts and fruit or chocolate to have a variety of flavours. The other is just slightly easier to mix together because you use oil instead of butter. I’ve included recipes for both.
Best Biscotti
Sandra Pittana

4 eggs
2 tbsp. liqueur (brandy, amaretto, etc)
2 tbsp. vanilla
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

Wisk together eggs, liqueur and vanilla.

Sift together, flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually beat in egg
mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in flour mixture. Divide into 3 or 4 equal

Add flavourings to each individual dough, enough that there are lots of chunks but not so much that the dough can’t hold together. (Between ¾ cup and 1 cup total per dough if divided in four pieces 1-1/3 cups if divided into three pieces.)

On two parchment-lined baking sheets, shape into 12 by 1-1/2 inch logs for 4 pieces, or 16 x 1-1/2 inch logs for 3 pieces.
Bake in a preheated 325 F. oven for 30 minutes or until firm and golden. Let cool on baking sheet 15 minutes; transfer to a cutting board.
Cut diagonally into ½ inch thick slices using a serrated knife. Lay cookies flat in baking sheets; bake about 25 minutes longer or until golden brown and crisp, turning once during baking.
Makes about 5 dozen biscotti.

Suggested flavours for additions:

• Pistachio, dried cranberries or cherries, white chocolate and orange zest.

• Orange zest, cinnamon, dried cranberries and toasted pecans.

• Almonds, white and dark chocolate chunks or chips.

• Orange zest, almonds or pecans, and cranberries.

Cherry Almond Biscotti
Food & Drink Magazine
Butter, to grease cookie sheet (I used parchment paper)
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
½ cup dried cherries (cranberries, currants, chocolate)
1 tbsp. grated orange rind
3 large eggs
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh orange juice or amaretto
1 egg, beaten
Pinch of Salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter and flour a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, chopped almonds, cherries, and orange rind.
3. Whisk together eggs and olive oil. Stir in orange juice. Make a well in middle of dry ingredients and slowly stir in liquid ingredients to form a dough.
4. Divide dough and place on cookie sheet. Shape into 2 loaves, about 9 x 5 inches. Brush on beaten egg and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until dough is a golden colour with cracks on top. It will not be firm to the touch.
5. Cool on racks for 20 minutes, then cut into ½-inch slices. Place on cookie sheets and bake for 15 minutes on each side or until golden brown and dried out. Cool on racks.
Makes 24 pieces.


Sandra said...

Gorgeous looking biscotti! Will definitely be trying your recipes. :)

Baking Diary said...

I am going to try these recipes soon, they sound good and yours look lovely! I have never sampled biscotti so it is nice to have a recipe that is recommended. Jeannette

doughadear said...

Please let me know how your biscotti turn out.

These are nice with a cup of coffee or tea. I look forward to hearing how your biscotti turn out.

Melinda said...

I really like the look of those! I love biscotti with a proper coffee. Home made biscotti outshines the store variety by a mile! Yours looks loaded with lots of goodies...just the way I love it!
You make such lovely things!

doughadear said...

Hello Melinda
I agree that homemade are so much better and I especially like the new recipe because it doesn't seem to have that much sugar so I don't feel guilty eating them. I also like that after glazing them with egg wash you sprinkle a pinch of salt along with the sugar - it adds a nice taste.