Here it is, the simplest, easiest biscotti recipe you'll ever follow. Biscotti
bake twice rather than once, and thus take a bit longer start-to-finish than normal
drop cookies. But the dough is put together exactly like drop cookie dough. And
if your kitchen skills include shaping a meatloaf and slicing a loaf of bread, you've
got what it takes to make delicious, gorgeous biscotti.
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) one
large (about 18" x 13") baking sheet.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and baking powder
until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly
curdled. At low speed of your mixer, add the flour, stirring until smooth; the dough
will be sticky.
Plop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Shape it into a log that’s about
14" long x 2 1/2" wide x 3/4" thick. Straighten the log, and smooth its top and
sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper works well here. Note: For extra-long,
bistro-style biscotti, pat the dough into a lightly greased 12" x 5 1/2" biscotti
Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool
on the pan anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes; just work it into the schedule of whatever
else you’re doing in the kitchen. Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature
water, lightly but thoroughly spritz the log, making sure to cover the sides as
well as the top. Softening the crust just this little bit will make slicing the
biscotti much easier.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Wait another 5 minutes, then use
a serrated knife to cut the log crosswise into 1/2" to 3/4" slices. Or cut the biscotti
on the diagonal—for fewer, longer biscotti. As you’re slicing, be sure to cut straight
up and down, perpendicular to the pan; if you cut unevenly, biscotti may be thicker
at the top than the bottom, and they’ll topple over during their second bake.
Set the biscotti on edge on the prepared baking sheet. Return the biscotti to
the oven, and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, till they feel very dry and are beginning
to turn golden. They’ll still feel a tiny bit moist in the very center, if you break
off a piece; but they’ll continue to dry out as they cool. Remove the biscotti from
the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
Yield: 3 dozen 3 1/2" biscotti, when cut crosswise. Or about 1 1/2 dozen biscotti
cut on the diagonal; the exact yield will depend upon just how much of a slant you
cut them on.
Variations: Add up to 2 cups nuts, dried fruit (dried, not fresh), or chips to
the dough, along with the flour. Adjust the spice to suit the add-in, if desired;
e.g., add 1 teaspoon cinnamon with 1 cup chopped dried apple and 1 cup diced pecans.
Or substitute hazelnut, butter-rum, or your favorite flavor for the vanilla. A classic
Italian anise biscotti is made with 1/2 teaspoon anise extract (or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon
anise oil, to taste), and 1 tablespoon fennel seeds.