These twice-cooked Italian cookies are the best accompaniment
to a mid-afternoon coffee
Biscotti di prato or cantucci are crunchy almond cookies from Tuscany. Biscotti means twice (bis) cooked (cotti), biscotti is also the generic term for cookies in Italian.
These cookies are very easy to make: you shape the dough into a log and bake it. Then slice the with a serrated knife and bake the cookies again. This step will further dry out the biscotti and become crunchy. Depending on how much you want to make and the overall size, you can bake one big log or split it into two for small cookies.
Originally the cookies are quite thick, however, you can slice them however thick you want to depend on your preference (i like mine a little on the thin side). You can replace the pistachios with almonds, hazelnuts, or chocolate chips and skip the cranberries if you don't like them. The possibilities are endless.
In Tuscany, biscotti are traditionally served at the end of a meal with a glass of Tuscan dessert wine, vin santo, for dipping but you can also serve them with tea, coffee or cappuccino.
Once the cookies have completely cooled, store them in an airtight container and they'll last several weeks and they are also perfect as a homemade gift.
Makes: 16 thick/25 thin | Prep time: 15 minutes | Baking time: 40 minutes
125g plain flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
60g caster sugar
1 large egg
zest of one orange
generous pinch of nutmeg (optional)
70g shelled pistachio nuts
50g dried cranberries
150g dark chocolate, for dipping
10g pistachio nuts, chopped
Preheat your oven to 180°C, 160°C fan, gas mark 4. Prepare your baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
Whisk the egg and sugar together until pale for 2 mins with an electric hand-mixer. This will take a couple of extra minutes if whisking by hand. The mixture should leave a ribbon trail when you lift the whisk.
Beat in the orange zest and then slowly mix in the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder and nutmeg. Once incorporated, fold in the pistachio nuts and the dried cranberries.
Flour your work surface and form the dough into an oval flat log. If you find that it's sticky, just flour your hands.
Lay the log onto the prepared baking tray and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes so that it hardens slightly - this makes it easier to slice.
Once cooled, using a sharp serrated knife, cut the baked loaf diagonally. If you prefer the cookies thicker, cut them 1 cm thick, or if thinner, slice them about 1/2 cm thick.
Place the sliced cookies back onto the baking sheet laid flat. Make sure you leave enough room between each one so the heat is evenly distributed. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool while you prepare the chocolate dip.
Roughly chop up the chocolate and place 100g into and melt in the microwave - do this in 30-second intervals and mix in between. Once completely melted, add in the remaining 50g of chopped chocolate and mix until completely melted.
Take one of your cookies and dip half into the melted chocolate. Place back onto the parchment paper so the chocolate can set. Sprinkle of the chopped pistachio nuts on the chocolate or with Maldon salt. Continue with the rest of the cookies.