Friday, March 11, 2011

You Say Biscuits, I Say Biscotti

Some years ago, one of my sister's friends proudly served expensive imported Italian biscotti to her Midwestern parents.  Her father, catching sight of the price on the tin and mentally dividing by the number of cookies inside, yelped in disbelief: "A buck apiece for dog biscuits?"

Biscotti aren't for everyone.  As cookies go, they're not exceptionally sweet, and unless they're soaked in a softening liquid, the traditional 1/2" thick versions can give the jaw muscles a real workout.  I've always liked them, though, and when I tasted the exceptional thin dried apricot and pistachio biscotti at Zinc Bistro in Scottsdale I wondered whether I could bake something similar.

After experimenting for a while with a variety of recipes I developed a low-fat pseudo-biscotto that won't break the teeth or torpedo the waistline.  It's based on this recipe from with less sugar and a lot of substitutions.  Here's the first of three variations, in response to Barry's request for cookies containing nutmeg and cinnamon. 

Skinny Biscotti

Variation 1 - Raisins and Spice

4 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a loaf pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and set it aside.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they start to hold stiff peaks.  Gradually beat in the two types of sugar until the resulting meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks.  Fold in the remaining ingredients gently until thoroughly blended.

Spoon the mixture into the pan, smoothing the top, and bake 25-30 minutes or until golden.  Cool the loaf in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes; while it's cooling, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

After 15 minutes, while the loaf is still slightly warm, gently turn it out of the pan and remove the foil or paper.  Use a serrated knife to cut the loaf crosswise into 1/8" thick slices.  Arrange them on greased cookie sheets.  Bake each sheet of cookies for 20 minutes.  The edges should be golden and starting to crisp.  Cool the cookies on racks; they will become crisper as they cool.  Store in an airtight container.

"I've got a biscotti and I'm not afraid to use it." ~An Extremely Goofy Movie

No comments:

Post a Comment