2/25/15

Can You Make Savory Biscotti? Yes, You Can! Ciao Biscotti Cookbook by Domenica Marchetti


Have you ever heard of savory biscotti?!!?!?  I bet most of you haven't. We are used to biscotti, the double baked cookies, that are usually sweet and contain fun add-ins like chocolate chips, or almonds or cranberries. I've made multiple versions of sweet biscotti and got my mom addicted to them. But then last year I started seeing variations upon variations of biscotti pop up on Domenica Marchetti's instagram and I knew she was up to something fun! In fact, Domenica was working on a new book that is now available and is called Ciao Biscotti: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Celebrating Italy's Favorite Cookie published by Chronicle books.

I was excited to receive a preview copy of this adorable cookbook. Before sharing recipes for both sweet and savory biscotti, Domenica goes over the equipment you'll need, provides explanations of most often used techniques such as prepping the nuts, toasting seeds, measuring flour and melting chocolate, and gives a quick overview of metric scale. In fact, each recipe includes measurements in both metric scale (grams, etc) as well as imperial (ounces, etc).

The recipes in the book range from classics such as orange & pistachio and chocolate chunk with cherries to more unusual combinations such as crispy pancetta and smoky gouda! There are also non-biscotti recipes for hazelnut butter rings, hazelnut meringues, and Nutella sandwich cookies. The recipes are accompanied by quirky photos and fun illustrations.

Because I've never had a savory version of biscotti in my life, I thought I should start with that!


Mountain Gorgonzola and Walnut Biscotti
Copied from the book with permission from the publisher

No doubt you’ll laugh when I tell you that the inspiration for these biscotti came from that buffet table classic—the holiday cheese ball. But I also have no doubt that after one bite, you’ll be won over. Crispy, buttery, and rich with tangy blue cheese flavor, these biscotti are perfect for a holiday gathering.  

Makes about 36 biscotti

1 tbsp vegetable oil for coating a baking sheet
2 cups/255 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup/55 g finely chopped walnuts
5 oz/140 g mountain gorgonzola (also known as gorgonzola piccante), crumbled
4 tbsp/55 g unsalted butter, cut into ½-in/12-mm pieces, at cool room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Lightly coat an 11-in by 17-in/28-cm by 43-cm rimmed baking sheet with the oil.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper and walnuts in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly on low speed. Add the Gorgonzola in pieces and mix briefly to combine. Add the butter in pieces and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture looks like damp sand. Pour in the eggs and mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough has formed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a disk. Divide it in half. Lightly moisten your hands with water and gently roll one portion of dough into a rough oval. Place it lengthwise on one half of the baking sheet and use your hands and fingers to stretch and pat the dough into a log about 2 1/2 in/6 cm wide and 12 in/30 cm long. Shape the second piece of dough in the same way, moistening your hands as necessary. Press down on the logs to flatten them out a bit and make the tops even. 

Bake the logs for 25 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and just set—they should be springy to the touch and there should be cracks on the surface. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Gently slide an offset spatula under each log to loosen it from the baking sheet. Let the logs cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to the rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300 F/150 C. 

Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and, using a Santoku knife or a serrated bread knife, cut them on the diagonal into 1/3-in-/8-mm-thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut-side up, on the baking sheet (in batches if necessary) and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 15 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden. Transfer the slices to a rack to cool completely. The biscotti will keep for up to 10 days in an airtight container stored at room temperature.
 
on the left: ready for the first bake; on the right: after the first bake


sliced and ready for the second bake

all done

My condo smelled amazing while I was baking the biscotti! This was definitely a lesson in patience because you not only have to bake these cookies twice, but you have to let them cool in between. But guess what? The wait was definitely worth it! These biscotti turned out buttery, cheesy and salty. In fact, if I make them again, I would reduce the amount of added salt (the cheese was salty enough).

I baked my biscotti longer than the recipe asked for. Do not expect the same dry and crumbly texture as the one you are used to in sweet biscotti. These came out more crumbly and buttery.

A few tips: I chopped my walnuts roughly instead of finely and used two fish spatulas to transfer the logs instead of an offset spatula (because I did not have one).

I served these with tomato soup and also had them with salad and as a snack wrapped in salami ;)

I cannot wait to try other recipes in Domenica's book!

What's your favorite biscotti?

Disclosure: I was provided with a preview copy of the book by the publisher but was not compensated by this post. All opinions are my own.

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