Monday, February 4, 2008


Seeing that it is February, now may be a safe time to start talking about cookies again. The most versatile cookies, in my opinion, are Biscotti. The dough can be easily altered to cover a huge range of sweet flavors, as well as savory ones.

Biscotti in Italian means "more than one cooking or baked twice". (Bis - more than one, cotto - cooking) Some similar National versions are the German zwieback, British hardtack, Jewish mandelbrot, Greek paxemadia and Russian sukhariki.

Bsicotti have been around since Roman times. A Tuscan baker served them with wine. This quickly spread across Italy prompting countless versions to pop up throughout the Italian countryside. The dry texture and long shelf life make them perfect for travelers.

The following recipe can easily be adapted to create something new by simply replacing the lemon and poopy seeds for something else. Go ahead and have some fun. Be creative and dazzle your taste buds. The holidays are over; why not celebrate with some biscotti.

Lemon Poppy Seed Biscotti
This light, sweet crunchy cookie is perfect for dunking.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl mix sugar, butter, eggs and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Add flour, baking powder, poppyseeds and extract to sugar mixture. Mix well.

With floured hands shape dough into a 16" x 3" log and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove log from oven, let cool for 5 minutes on pan. With a serrated knife carefully slice the log into about 18 cookies. Bake cookies addtional 10 minutes on each side. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 18 cookies

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