Gingerful Biscotti

These are crisp, spicy and they’d last a long time if they weren’t so addictive.

Makes 60 to 70 biscotti

4 ounces (1 loosely packed cup) crystallized ginger

7 ounces (11/4 cups) whole almonds, blanched or unblanched

3 cups sifted flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

11/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup honey

Cut

4 ounces (1 loosely packed cup) crystallized ginger

into thin slices and then crosswise to make pieces about the size of small green peas. Scissors may make this task easier. Set aside.

Toast

7 ounces (11/4 cups) whole almonds, blanched or unblanched

in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly colored, stirring once during toasting. Set aside to cool

Into a large bowl, sift together

3 cups sifted flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

11/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper (or 1 teaspoon purchased ground white pepper, since it packs down while standing and doesn’t taste as good anyway)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup sugar

Stir in the crystallized ginger and nuts. In a small bowl, beat together

3 large eggs

1/2 cup honey

and add to dry ingredients. Stir until the dry ingredients are completely moistened. Place two 18- to 20-inch lengths of plastic wrap on the counter. Form two strips of the dough, one on each piece of plastic wrap. Do this by spooning half of the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls in the middle, lengthwise, of each piece of plastic wrap to form strips about 13 inches long. Flatten the tops slightly by dipping a large spoon in water and pressing down on the dough with the wet spoon. Keep wetting the spoon to work the dough more easily, as the dough is sticky.

Lift the two long sides of one piece of plastic wrap, bringing them together on the top of the dough. Press the plastic wrap in place on the top, and, using your hands, smooth the dough to form an even strip about 13 to 14 inches long and 21/2 to 31/2 inches wide and no thicker than 3/4 inch high. If any air bubbles form, pierce a small hole with the tip of a sharp knife to let the air escape, then press on the plastic wrap to spread the dough into that space. Shape both strips, place on a cookie sheet and freeze for at least an hour or until firm enough to unwrap (or as much longer as you wish).

To bake, adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 300°. Line two large cookie sheets with baking parchment or aluminum foil, shiny side up. Place one strip of dough diagonally on a lined sheet, and slowly peel the plastic wrap off the dough. Repeat with the second strip of dough and the second cookie sheet.

Bake for 50 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during the backing to insure even baking. These will turn quite dark during baking.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275° and remove the sheets from the oven. Immediately—carefully and gently—peel the parchment or foil away from the backs of the strips and slice the strips while they are still very hot. On a cutting board, use a clean towel to hold a strip in place and slice with a serrated knife. Slice on an angle; the sharper the angle, the longer the cookies, and the more difficult it will be to slice them very thin. Do your best. Cut them about 1/4 to 1/3 inch wide. ATTNI have an electric slicer and it lets me make incredibly thing biscotti.

Place the slices on a cut side on the cookie sheets; don’t worry about leaving any room between the biscotti. Bake at 275°or about 25 minutes. (If you re-bake the biscotti one sheet at a time they will bake in a bit less time.) Because these are so thin, you will not need to turn them upside down during the second baking, but you should reverse the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during the baking. Bake just until dry; you will need to test them when they are cool to know if they are crisp enough. Do not overbake.

Store in an airtight container after they cool.

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of Great Cookies

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