Italian dessert needed + biscotti help

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Joined Jul 30, 2007
ST,

in case you haven't made up your mind as yet, here are a few of my favorites...for a cookie, a simple pignoli or toasted seame seed...you can never go wrong with cannolis, however they are quite labor intensive unless you have a bakery you can buy the shells from...then there is always crostata di ricotta, a sublime italian cheese pie with a pasta frolla ( pastry crust with sugar, marsala, and orange zest....

joey
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2006
Judging by the recipes, Amaretti is a drop cookie, meaning you just take from the batter with a tsp. and put it on the sheet. No rolling like biscotti :)
That's what i would have imagined, too,  but then i looked in the old Artusi, La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene (1910 edition) and it gave two recipes, each of which required you to roll out a sort of snake and cut it in pieces, then roll them in balls and squash them slightly with the hands.  (neither called for rolling them out, like with a rolling pin, nor do biscotti recipes).  Amaretti are soft and chewy not crispy like meringues, though probably by the time they get exported they become dry.  I was pleasantly surprised when i first had panforte di siena here, and it was beautifully soft, while what i'd always tasted in the states was a jawbreaker. 

I just checked out Ada Boni's Talismano della Felicita', another classic, but more recent, and here, despite the many contraptions invented to grate and grind almonds, she also says to  smash the peeled and dried almonds in a mortar, then beat the whites, add powdered sugar, beating, and then the almonds and then to put them in a pastry bag and squirt out walnut-sized balls,

her ingredients are similar though,

125 gms almonds

50 gm bitter almonds

225 gm powdered sugar

2 egg whites

powdered sugar to dust on top before baking.  But first let them sit there for "many hours" then bake in a moderate oven until they're swollen and the insides are hollow

However ada boni doesn;t really specify powdered sugar in the mixture, but says "sugar in powder" which seems like powdered sugar, but the dusting sugar at the end is described as zucchero a velo, which is the usual term for the fine sugar that blows away when you sift it, what we call powdered sugar.  Probably the first one is superfine sugar. 

The thing is, Italian recipes are never very accurate and rarely really describe how things are done, but each of these specifies how to do it (beat the whites, or add the whites to the mortar; roll into a snake and cut and roll into balls or to squeeze from a pastry bag and let them sit for several hours. 
 
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Joined Apr 24, 2011
Well I guess I'll go with the beat the whites, fold in the almonds, powdered sugar (in Macedonia there is only granulated and powdered sugar, so that's what I'm going by..) and almond extract, drop the dough with teaspoons and bake.. Now, some recipes say 24-30 mins at 150 degrees and others 15 at 180 with the same ingredients, what do you say I should listen?
 
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Joined Apr 24, 2011
They were lovely! I wasn't so sure about the whole thing but when I was making them I knew they would succeed. I made them like I wrote above, baked at 170 for around 15 minutes. They came out great, soft when warm and brilliantly chewy today. Everyone who tried them immediately fell in love, the beautiful crunchy (but not too much) texture, the almonds in the dough and the final, marzipan taste.. People at these events know that I love cooking and that I have experience with sweets, but even they were too surprised, not to mention the new people.

I'm not showing off. I'm simply praising these genius cookies. Thanks a lot to everyone for the help :)
 
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Joined Jul 17, 2010
Hi

I hope this recipe will help you. Try this:

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Ingredient:

6 T. unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking sheet

2 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet

1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1 C. sugar

2 large eggs

1 C. shelled pistachio nuts

1/2 C. chocolate chips
 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a baking sheet; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour mixture, and stir to form a stiff dough. Stir in pistachios and chocolate chips.

Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet; form into a slightly flattened log, about 12 x 4 inches. Bake until slightly firm, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300ºF.

On a cutting board, using a sharp serrated knife, cut biscotti diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet, and bake until crisp but still slightly soft in the center, about 8 minutes.
 
38
10
Joined Jul 17, 2010
Hi

I hope this recipe will help you. Try this:

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Ingredient:

6 T. unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking sheet

2 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet

1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1 C. sugar

2 large eggs

1 C. shelled pistachio nuts

1/2 C. chocolate chips
 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a baking sheet; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour mixture, and stir to form a stiff dough. Stir in pistachios and chocolate chips.

Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet; form into a slightly flattened log, about 12 x 4 inches. Bake until slightly firm, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300ºF.

On a cutting board, using a sharp serrated knife, cut biscotti diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet, and bake until crisp but still slightly soft in the center, about 8 minutes.
 
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Joined Dec 7, 2010
I posted this to a very old thread asking for biscotti help.   I've made LOADS of these, giving them for Xmas gifts with a card explaining they are meant to be dunked.   Surprising how many people don't know that and think I make very hard cookies.   These are for hazelnut nuts/flavoring, but I also made traditional almond/anise ones for myself.   In that case, I just worked fast because I had no idea how much liquid I was really putting into the hazelnut ones.   The hazelnut ones were the big favorites with all my gift recipients, BTW.   And the combo of hazelnut & chocolate is legendary, so sometimes I drizzled chocolate on them after they were done.

***************************************************************************************************************
 I used to make biscotti very frequently. My favorite recipe called for butter (I kept trying to find one without, like true Italian biscotti, but alas, those never turned out well.)

 I finally hit on a recipe, using toasted hazelnuts as the nut in them. I could not find hazelnut flavoring anywhere, so I used about 1½ T of hazelnut coffee syrup. It did a few things that improved my biscotti.

(My original recipe was very similar to Siduri's).

 1. the small addition of liquid - very small - gave me more time "in the zone" the point where the biscotti slices easily. Before that I would wait a couple of minutes after the 1st baking and then slice. All went well until it cooled too much, then it crumbled. The very small addition of the syrup gave me more time.

 2. the flavor, of course,

 3. the cookies did not get brown too fast (we liked ours pale, like real Italian ones)

 I always made a triple recipe - enough for 4 (large flat) logs on 2 large cookie sheets. (baked at the same time I never noticed a bit of difference baking them one at a time) My cookies were generously long, about 7" long, 1/2 to 3/4: wide & high, not the typical "home made" crecent look. 

 When I took them out after the 1st baking, (when golden and holding their shape well) I let them set maybe 2-4 minutes, If you sliced them too soon, they mushed up when slicking, when they cooled too much, they crumbled. You had to hit it just at the right temperature. (As I mentioned above the small amount of liquid helped extend the period)

 I remember they were still rather hot as I sliced, because I usually held the log with a dish towel while I worked. I used a serrated knife and used the knife edge to scoot them on the cookie sheet. I did NOT lay them on their sides. I merely spread them out all over the sheet with the knife behind them for support, that way the sides were exposed to the heat on the 2nd baking and I did not have to turn them. The knife helped keep them in shape when they were softer from the heat

 On the 2nd baking, I put both pans back in the oven at reduced temperature. I cooked it for about 10-12 minutes, then I turned the oven off and left the cookies in until the oven was completely cool - usually overnight.

  This worked beautifully for me, drying them out completely without over browning. The tiny bit of extra liquid helped me slice them cleanly and leaving them standing up eliminated turning them over. Also I found chopping the nuts to a small pea size, no larger, helped because when the knife hit them it made a mess too.

Hope this helps
 
Last edited:
270
21
Joined Dec 7, 2010
Thanks, I've been looking for that recipe!

I just checked out Ada Boni's Talismano della Felicita', another classic, but more recent, and here, despite the many contraptions invented to grate and grind almonds, she also says to smash the peeled and dried almonds in a mortar, then beat the whites, add powdered sugar, beating, and then the almonds and then to put them in a pastry bag and squirt out walnut-sized balls,
 
 
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