Coming from a traditional Italian family, biscotti has followed me my entire life. As a small child my Nonna would give me homemade biscotti to alleviate the pain of teething. As a teen my aunt would serve me a homemade biscotti with my espresso while I stayed on her farm in Italy. Now as a vegan adult, I miss these crunchy little guys with my cappuccino (now made with almond milk of course). These are perfect for long trips because it takes a lot for them to turn, or get stale for that matter!
But what is a biscotti?
The word originates from the medieval Latin word biscoctus, meaning “twice-cooked/baked”: it defined oven baked goods that were baked twice, so they were very dry and could be stored for long periods of time. Such non perishable food was particularly useful during journeys and wars, and twice baked breads were a staple food of the Roman Legions.
Americans usually dunk them in coffee, while Italians can make a savory biscotti to dunk into sauces. In Spain biscotti usually are served with a small glass of a sweet dessert wine such as moscatel.
Biscotti Recipe: Feel free to substitute any other fruits or nuts you have around, or add in extras!
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached cane sugar
- 3/4 cup applesauce
- 1-3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons sweet liquor (ammaretto, grand marnier, frangelico, etc.)
- 1 1/2 cups almonds, toasted and chopped
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
Preheat oven the 325°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, applesauce, oil (1 TBS for a hard biscotti, 2-3 TBS for a softer biscuit), and booze. Stir the sugar mixture into the flour mixture, add the nuts; finish mixing with your hands. With floured hands, shape the dough into two 3-inch wide “logs” about 3/4 inch thick, with the ends squared off. Place these on a foil wrapped cookie sheet and bake the logs for about 25 minutes. Remove the pans and reduce the oven heat to 300°F, letting the logs cool for 15 minutes.
Cut the logs carefully with a sharp knife straight across into 1/2 inch wide slices and place the slices cut side down on the cookie sheets (you can remove the foil ). Bake 5-10 minutes, or until golden on the bottom. Turn the slices over and cook 5-10 minutes more, or until golden on bottom.
Cool on racks, then store airtight for up to two weeks.