Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti

If you like a great little cookie to go with your coffee, consider this no-fail recipe for biscotti. This is one of my favorites because the pistachios and lemon go well together and these cookies are not overly sweet.

Julian's Biscotti - Lemon Pistachio on the Right Side
Thanks to my sister for the recipe and for the lesson in making them. My notes below include all of her tips and tricks to get perfection every time.

Julian with his sister, Frances.
Biscotti was originally made for the Roman Legions and as such had to last a long time. It was very dry and contained no fats and was also used by most travelers at that time. The second round in the oven is specifically used to draw out the excess moisture to help preserve the cookie. While we still do this today, modern biscotti has changed quite a bit, but it still lasts a long time. As such I make several batches at once.

1/3 cup salted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cups pistachio nuts

1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1-3 teaspoons lemon juice

Frances Preparing to Kneed the Dough
Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with silicon pads.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30-45 seconds with the standard mixing paddle attachment. Add sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla extra, lemon zest and juice. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Mix in the flour a little at a time until combined. Add and mix in the nuts.

Just a few turns are necessary to bring the dough together.
Sprinkle a work surface with a little sugar and flour. Dump the dough on to the work surface and combine with the heal of your hand, turning it several times until combined and formed into a disk. Sprinkle with extra flour/sugar if sticky. Separate the dough into two equal parts.

Shape each portion into an 8-inch long roll. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and straighten so they are approximately three inches apart. Slightly flatten the tops of each roll with your fingers until the rolls are about 2 1/2 inches wide.

Roll Into Logs
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are lightly brown, cracked and almost firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and turn off.  Let the rolls sit on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes until just cool enough to handle with your bare hands. Transfer to a cooling rack being careful not to break the rolls. Let cool 30 minutes until just slightly warm.

Shape and Flatten Slightly
Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Transfer to a cutting surface and using a sharp serrated knife or electric knife, cut each roll diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Use your fingers to hold the log together close to the cutting edge, taking care not to cut your fingers. This helps to support the sides and stop breakage that make occur otherwise.

Place cut side down on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for eight minutes, remove from oven and turn each piece over. Bake an additional 8 minutes on the second side and remove from the oven. Cool on the baking sheets, to permit some additional baking time out of the oven. When cool add the lemon glaze below.

Cut On the Angle - Support Log while Cutting
Lemon Glaze
In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and lemon peel. Stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice at a time. Add milk to thin until it is a drizzle consistency. Place the tips of your fingers into the glaze and shake them across the biscotti in the same direction. (See image below.)  Continue doing this until the biscotti are glazed to your liking.

Drizzles with Lemon Glaze
Biscotti can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 months if kept in a cool, dry place.

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