Photo by Judith Hausman
If a good soup is simmering on your stove this winter as often as it is on mine, you’ll love these crunchy, savory biscotti as the perfect accompaniments. This is my favorite recipe because the biscotti turn out dry and crunchy, just the way I like them. They are also very easy to make, and they dunk really well. The recipe has no sugar or additional oil or butter, unlike the many sweet, almost crumbly, biscotti recipes around. The ingredients are hardly local in the Hudson Valley, but at least the soup ingredients are in my kitchen.
“Biscotti” means twice cooked, so you will form a loaf and bake it for about 35 minutes and then slice the loaf and bake the slices for another 25 minutes to make them crisp. The two savory biscotti versions below — tomato-lemon and olive-rosemary — are delicious with minestrone. I’ve even tried a sweet version, which turned out equally well, but I did have to add a little oil and sugar to those. You might need to experiment to your own taste.
Variation 1: Sundried tomato and lemon:
- 2 ½ cups flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- the zest of one lemon, chopped or grated
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 2 eggs*
- ½ cup, plus 2 tablespons water
Stir together the dry ingredients, lemon zest and tomatoes. Whisk together the eggs and water. Pour this into the dry mixture and stir to combine. On a lightly floured board, use your hands to knead the dough and shape it into two logs, roughly 2 ½ inches wide x 12 inches long and about ½ inch thick. Place the logs on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove from oven and let cool briefly so you can handle the logs. Slice them carefully into ¼ inch slices and place the slices back on the lined cookie sheet. Bake about 25 minutes more or until browned.
Yield: about 24 biscotti
Variation 2: Olive and rosemary:
Sweet variation with nuts:
Omit cornmeal and add ½ cup more flour. Add 1 ½ tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey, ½ cup chopped nuts. I used almonds and left the pieces rather large. These are wonderful dunked in sweet wine.
* If you like a glossy top, you can beat an additional egg and brush the top of the logs with it.