While there are a lot of great pastries that go well with coffee or tea, what I came to love after making them in pastry school are Biscotti. Biscotto, which is Italian for twice baked come from the city of Prato in Italy and although some are made with eggs and butter, their shelf life ranges from 1 month to 3 months provided they are stored in an airtight container. This is due to the twice baked process which draws out all the moisture.
Biscotti are also like a blank canvas. Whether it’s ripe bananas, chocolate, almonds, vanilla or green tea, you can add anything to the recipe and they will taste amazing!!! Here is a recipe for Espresso Biscotti that will last you a while and are perfect as a homemade gift if you’re looking for something extra to give during the holiday season.
The best thing about this recipe? It’s all done by hand. No mixer needed! For those that don’t like really hard biscotti, you can reduce the baking time to make them softer.
2 ½ cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tsp of baking soda
½ tsp of baking powder
2 large eggs
1tsp of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of espresso powder in 1/3 cup of hot water
1 egg white (for brushing on top of biscotti)
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
First add 1 tablespoon of espresso powder to 1/3 of cup of water in a pot and heat till it comes to a simmer then set it aside to cool (make sure it’s cool to the touch otherwise you will scramble the eggs).
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir well with a whisk and then make a well in the center.
Beat the eggs, vanilla and cool espresso in a small bowl and then pour it into the well.
Use a spatula; draw the dry ingredients gradually into the eggs, turning the bowl clockwise until you form soft dough.
Now with floured hands and lightly floured cutting board, divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll each into a 10 to 12 inch cylinder and then transfer them to a ½ sheet pan or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Now take the egg white and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the top of each biscotti cylinder.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes then rotate the cookie sheet and bake for another 20 minute until they are firm to the touch.
Remove the biscotti from the pan and cut them at a 45 degree angle at ½ inch or so intervals.
Return them to the cookie sheet and bake for another 15-20 minutes until they are very dry.
Cool them completely on the pan or a wire rack and then store them in a tin.