From hazelnut and anise to cranberry, citrus, chocolate and even cheese, Domenica Marchetti has compiled a tempting array of biscotti recipes in Ciao Biscotti (Chronicle Books, 2015). Each recipe ends with a drink suggestion to pair with the cookies, and bright illustrations accompany the easy-to-follow directions. The following recipe is from “Classic Flavors.”
These extra-large slices are loaded with warm, toasty hazelnuts and chunks of sweet fig. Strictly speaking, these aren't true biscotti, as they are baked only once. This keeps them chewy-soft and prevents the dried fruit from toughening. Look for Calimyrna figs, which are lighter in color than black Mission figs. Dried Calimyrnas also tend to be softer and plumper, and they have a sweet, caramel-like flavor.
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 2 cups unbleached all‑purpose flour
• 1⁄2 cup sugar
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1⁄8 tsp fine sea salt
• 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
• Scant 1 cup dried Calimyrna figs, quartered
• Finely grated zest of 1 organic lemon
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 2 tbsp honey
• 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with the vegetable oil.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
3. Add the hazelnuts, figs, and lemon zest and mix on low speed to combine and break up some of the nuts.
4. Add the eggs, honey, and olive oil and mix on medium speed until a soft, sticky dough has formed.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Lightly moisten your hands with water and gently roll the dough into a rough oval.
6. Place it lengthwise in the middle of the baking sheet and use your hands and fingers to stretch and pat the dough into a log about 3-1/2 inches wide and 14 inches long. Press down on the log to flatten it out a bit and make the top even.
7. Bake the log for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is lightly browned and just set—it should be springy to the touch and there should be cracks on the surface.
8. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Gently slide an offset spatula under the log to loosen it from the baking sheet. Let the log cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer it to the rack and let it cool to room temperature.
9. Transfer the cooled log to a cutting board and, using a Santoku knife or a serrated bread knife, cut it on the diagonal into 3/8-inch-thick slices. These are best enjoyed on the day they are made, though they will keep in an airtight container stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
What to drink: A glass of port or cider, hot or cold.
More from Ciao Biscotti:
Reprinted with permission from Ciao Biscotti: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Celebrating Italy's Favorite Cookie by Domenica Marchetti and published by Chronicle Books, 2015.