Come si dice “cookies?” Biscotti!

Test Kitchen Post by Stephanie Smith

This week’s Test Kitchen was dedicated to Italy. Being Italian and having about six years of high school Italian language classes under my belt–meaning I know how to say hello and goodbye—I was pretty excited to make biscotti this week! I’ve never made biscotti myself, but I’ve always drooled over the fresh-baked varieties that would show up on our holiday dessert tables baked by all of the women in my family.

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The first biscotti is said to come from the Tuscan town of Prato, during the eighteenth century. Boy, am I glad they’ve lasted long enough to still be part of the Italian culture! Though biscotti were originally unique to Italy, the recipe has since spread throughout Europe, and the cookie has been adapted to take on the flavors from many different European areas.

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Anytime I come to the test kitchen and there’s a dessert to be served, I get so excited—nothing’s better than a healthy dessert! This biscotti recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour (who knew a legendary British leader would know a thing or two about biscotti!). This recipe is for mini biscotti, which means that not only should you yield about 66 biscotti out of one batch, but it also means that you can eat about four biscotti costing you only 160 calories.

Interestingly enough, the word “biscotti” actually translates to “twice baked.” And you guessed it: these cookies are twice baked, which gives them their hard and crunchy texture. So, you may want to save this recipe for a day when you’ve got a little extra time to tend to the oven, since the total time preparing and baking is about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

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One thing we noticed while baking was that the yield didn’t quite reach 66 per
batch. We doubled the batch, hoping for about 120, but we probably only got
about 90 mini biscotti. Keep in mind that the number of cookies you get out of your batch all depends on how you cut them.

Overall, this recipe got a big thumbs up! We all enjoyed ‘em, polished the plate
clean, and everybody went to grab a bag to bring home. I can’t wait to make these
at home to impress my family soon!

P.S. The title of this post translates to: “How do you say “cookies?” A nice phrase to know for the next time you’re in Italy looking for the sweets.

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6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats*
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
3 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar for dusting (1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 T cinnamon)
*for smoother texture, can pulverize oats in food processor if desired

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large cookie sheet.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla until smooth.
3. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is well combined. It may look a bit coagulated, but that’s okay.
4. Add the flour and oats, mixing to combine.
5. Stir in nuts if using.
6. Divide the dough into four equal pieces, placing them on the prepared baking sheet.
7. Shape each piece into a rough log about 10” to 11” long, placing the logs crosswise on the sheet, and spacing them about 2”       apart. Using damp hands, flatten and smooth the logs until they’re about ¾” thick, and about 1 ¼” wide.
8. Spritz the top of each log with water, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
9. Bake the logs for 23 to 25 minutes, until they’re beginning to brown around the bottom edges.
10. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool right on the pan for about 10 minutes. Spritz  with water, sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar, and let them cool for another 15 to 20 minutes. While the logs are cooling, reduce the oven temperature to 325˚F.
11. Cut the logs crosswise into ½” to ¾” slices, using a sharp chef’s knife.
12. Place the biscotti back on the baking sheet, spacing them close together without touching.
13. Bake the biscotti for 25 minutes, until their cut edges are a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan.

Nutrition Facts:
Serving size: 4 biscotti
Calories: 160
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Protein: 4 g
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 1 g



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