please have one, or two
is a word of Latin origin that means twice-baked: the dough is baked, cut into slices and baked again. (To be precise, cooked means cotto, but in Italian we don't have a specifi...
please have one, or two
is a word of Latin origin that means twice-baked: the dough is baked, cut into slices and baked again. (To be precise, cooked means cotto, but in Italian we don't have a specific verb for cooking in the oven; "to bake" is cuocere al forno, literally: to cook in the oven.)
From describing a cooking
procedure, the word biscotto came to indicate a baked product, crunchy and fairly dry in texture (see a photo in this post). Nowadays, biscotti are not necessarily twice-baked (though some of them are, like biscotti di Prato). In Italy, you can find shelves full of biscotti in grocery stores: we call them frollini, novelllini, petit, oswego (or osvego), etc.
When I moved to California, I did not find in the local stores any of the biscotti
I was used to eating. On the other hand, I found plenty of 'biscotti,' that is, variations on the theme of a twice-baked product that up until then I
had called cantucci.
preparing almonds and chocolate
I shared my recipe for the lovely treat in my previous post on biscotti. However, I kept experimenting with variations and I think that the most recent version warrants sharing.
The most recent change to the recipe was inspired by the current Cook the Books Club selection: The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy. One of the stories narrated in parallel in the novel is set in Garmisch, a mountain resort in Bavaria, during the last year of World War II. The other story is set in El Paso, Texas, a few years ago. The link between the two locations and stories is Elsie, the title character.
On this page, you can find a short description of the novel and an evocative video that brought a smile to my face, because, honestly, does not describe the way I read the novel. Writers know that when they send their words out into the world, the way the world reads them is outside their control.
The novel and events that occurred while I was reading it, made me think
a lot about evil and what I do (and can do in addition) in my small sliver of
world to counter its effects. At the beginning of a manifestation of evil, there is the judgment of
another person to be "less" or inferior, because of his or her gender,
race, physical characteristics, religious or political belief, sexual
orientation, etc. Then, each step justified by the previous one, the
judgment becomes oppression, persecution, and finally physical
elimination. This happens every day around us, so every day, I need to look for signs of it and for ways in which I can do my part to stop it.
I will return to this topic soon, since the book I read after The Baker's Daughter made me continue my reflection on evil.
In the novel, the baker of the title prepares cookies called Lebkuchen as a special treat for Christmas, one for each member of the family, near or far, alive or dead. There is a recipe for Lebkuchen Hearts at the end of the book, but it is way too sweet for our household's taste. As I could not let go of the idea of baking a lightly spiced treat, I thought of adding a bit of Lebkuchengewürz to my biscotti.
The Lebkuchengewürz is a ground mix where the prevailing spice, in terms of quantity, is cannella (cinnamon). The one I used contains also chiodi di garofano (cloves), coriandolo (coriander), cardamomo (cardamom), and anice (anise). (In the past, I used Lebkuchengewürz to make Lebkuchen Loaf Cake.)
Other differences between the new version of biscotti and the
"old" one are the use of flaxseed meal and water as substitute for one of the eggs,
and the substitution of some of the whole-wheat pastry flour with
whole-grain millet (miglio) and sorghum (sorgo), which are both gluten-free.
dough in progress
Print-friendly version of briciole's recipe for biscotti