Biscotti | The Cookie that Keeps on Giving

While rearranging a pantry shelf recently I came across an errant bag of biscotti that had shifted off by itself, becoming the clear culprit in the current traffic jam.

Biscotti du jour

I opened the bag and I gave it the sniff test—a lingering scent of cardamom drifted out.  On the bag I had scribbled near illegibly, ‘Ginger Cardamom’, likely lost remnants of my last biscotti du jour effort.  I do that.  I’ll have a new favorite biscotti that I get stuck on and keep baking more of the same.

Biscotti can be fickle.  The dough can be temperamental and far more trouble than it is worth.  The double baking which aids in its longevity creates an additional step, so let’s keep it simple. Here is my basic recipe for a tender biscotti that I change up with different additions of dried fruit, nuts, flavorings, etc.  It is a very malleable dough that can be quickly mixed by hand.

Ginger in any form is a reoccurring theme on this site.  I adore it because it is soothing, satisfying, and spicy enough to pack a good punch.  Since cardamom is seductive and supportive in its own flavor profile, these two team nicely together.

My saved cooking notes on this batch indicate that I added a dash of sesame oil.  I still like that notion. Call me a purist, but when it comes to nuts in biscotti, I have my moments.  In the case of sesame oil, it does not compete with the lovely chewiness of the candied ginger, yet complements both the ginger and cardamom.

What a nice surprise! After a month or so lost in storage, these cookies are still good enough to warrant a fresh cup of coffee and another round of biscotti for me and my friends.

Ginger Cardamom Biscotti   

Ingredients

1-2/3 cups flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cardamom
¾ teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil (I included 1 teaspoon sesame oil.  Not obvious, but nice)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup candied ginger
Optional drizzle topping: ½ cup white chocolate chips melted with 2 teaspoons coconut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325-350° F. Prepare parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
  2. Combine dry in small bowl and whisk.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs through vanilla until well blended.  With spatula, stir in dry ingredients just to combine.  Stir in candied ginger.  Scrape onto baking sheet dividing and shaping into 2-3 narrow loaves @  1″ high and 2″ wide, keeping them about 2 ½” apart.  They will spread.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, until firm but springy.  Cool briefly.  Using serrated knife, slice loaves into ½” diagonal slices.  Lay cut side down on sheet.  Bake 12 minutes. Turn slices over and bake 12-15 minutes longer, until light golden brown.  Cool on rack.  If desired drizzle with melted white chocolate. Store airtight at room temperature. Yield: 2-3 dozen biscotti.

Quirky Characters mash-up

What is zingy-bright, crunchy-chewy, butter-nutty, earthy and addictive?

Hint:  think ginger and pine nuts.  Oh, and throw in a smattering of cornmeal plus a little extra fortification from lemon and coriander. Hmmmm.

Now, you probably did not think first of biscotti, did you?  Mmmmm.

It is a startling combination, yes.  But for a biscotti lover always ready for a new taste thrill, these literally dance in my mouth.  The eggs play a major role in this cookie’s success:  they provide the binding structure and become the flavor background upon which all the disparate players blend into one quirky character.

Forget these if you don’t like ginger  gingerFreshly grated, powdered, and crystallized ginger all unite in one high-powered triple whammy.  Further, the sprightly crystallized ginger adds a distinct chewiness—the perfect foil—to the cornmeal’s earthy crunchiness.     

If pine nuts do funny things in your mouth, don’t bother pinenutsHere, smooth, elegant pine nuts strike a bewitching balance with the ebullient ginger. Essential toasting of the nuts brings out a rich, bacon-fat quality that jumps out of nowhere.  A dash of citrus from the lemon and coriander add supporting layers and rounds out these big flavors.Biscotti Ging Pine

Enjoy with a cuppa tea or a steamy latte.

Ginger and  Pine Nut Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1-1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ginger, dried
  • ½ tsp coriander, dried
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola or walnut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, grated
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup crystallized ginger, finely diced

To finish:  ½ cup  white or dark chocolate chips melted with 2 tsp shortening, or 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

  1. In a small bowl combine the flour through the coriander.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, beat in the sugar until well incorporated, and then beat in the oil. Add the vanilla, grated ginger and lemon.
  3. Quickly add the dry ingredients, just to combine. Stir in the pine nuts and crystallized ginger.
  4. Divide the dough in half and form two long thin loaves (lightly floured hands help), about 12”x2”x ½”, with 2 inches between the loaves; they will spread a little. If using, sprinkle with turbinado sugar and press lightly into top.
  5. Bake 30-35 minutes, until firm but springy. Allow to cool about 10 minutes.
  6. Place each loaf on cutting board, slice into ½” diagonal slices using serrated knife.
  7. Lay cookies with cut side down on sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes.
  8. Turn the cookies over and bake 12-5 minutes longer, until lightly golden. Cool on sheet on rack.
  9. If desired, drizzle with white or dark chocolate heated with melted shortening. Store airtight at room temperature.   Makes 35 to 45 cookies, depending on size.