After my great experience with these Italian cookies, I've been hooked on finding my next Italian cookie love. Bill has requested biscotti on several occasions, and I've resisted. I'm not a huge fan of the biscotti you buy next to the register at coffee places. I do like how the crisp, almost inedible cookie gives way once dunked in coffee, but even more than that, I like cookies that I can eat any time, with or without coffee. These mosaic biscotti are a great compromise: they dunk beautifully in coffee, but do not have the dry, stale, tooth-breaking hardness of what I've come to know as 'biscotti'.
I've been enjoying Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, by Gina De Palma. This is the second recipe inspired from her book. The first was the figgy ice cream I made a few weeks ago. Both were great and I have 10 or 15 other recipes dogeared! Definitely a cookbook keeper.
Mosaic Biscotti: biscotti di mosai
makes about 120 small cookies
3 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 egg white for glaze
2 cups granulated sugar, plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons for glaze
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chips or coarsely chopped pieces
2 cups hazelnuts or almonds (skins on or off) coarsely chopped
2 cups whole, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together eggs, egg yolks, and 2 cups sugar, on medium speed until pale and thick, about 2 minutes.
4. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the dry ingredients and then the chocolate and nuts, until the dough is thoroughly mixed. It will be a stiff dough.
5. Using floured hands, divide the dough into 5 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, shape each portion of the dough into a log about 2 inches wide, 1 inch thick and 10 - 12 inches long. Place the logs on the two baking sheets, leaving a minimum of 3 inches between them.
6. In a small bowl, beat the egg white with a fork until frothy. With a pastry brush, glaze each log with the beaten egg white and then sprinkle each log with 1 teaspoon sugar.
7. Bake the logs until they are lightly golden brown, firm to the touch , and just beginning to crack slightly -- about 25 - 30 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees halfway through baking.
8. Allow logs to cool on the baking sheets on a wire rack until they are cool to the touch, about 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F.
9. Once cooled, use a sharp, serrated knife to slice the biscotti slightly on the bias into 1/4 to 1/2 inch-wide slices. The thicker the slice, the longer it will need to bake, but it can be difficult to cut them really thin with all those yummy chunks of nuts and chocolate.
10. Lay the slices on the baking sheets in a singe layer. They won't spread, so you can place them close to each other, but not touching. Return them to the oven and cook for 30 - 40 minutes more, or until toasted, dry, and crisp.
11. Cool the biscotti completely on the sheets, then store them in an airtight container kept in a cool, dry place for up to 3 weeks. They can also be frozen in tightly sealed containers or ziplocks.