Something to Dunk: Home Made Biscotti

Jars of biscotti sitting on the counters of coffee shops always, always tempt me. I love biscotti and I always say to myself, “for the amount of money you want to spend on those you could make your own and lots more of them.” Of course, getting around to doing that is whole other matter.

This recipe might make it seem a little easier to do. Very simple, really. Plus it has the added virtue of being tasty but not so wildly delicious that you’ll want to sit down and eat the whole batch. A few years ago I offered up a chocolate biscotti recipe I picked up from an island neighbor, but those little buggers, dipped in melted chocolate and studded with chocolate chips, are way too scrumptious to keep in the same house I am living in.(Though, of course, Toby disagrees.) I’m sure you know what I mean.

These biscotti went to weekly Sewing Circle with me on Tuesday, and I unloaded a bunch on the group, and they seemed to enjoy them. We always have coffee or tea before our president begins the business part of the meeting and what we call “show and tell” when we view the finished projects that will be offered at the annual fair. We all enjoy it when someone brings a little something to go with.

A classic biscotti is flavored with anise. I didn’t have anise, so I used vanilla. And the original recipe called for more sugar, which I reduced. Neither did the recipe mention add-ins like nuts, but I dropped in a handful each of slivered almonds and dried cranberries, and I like the result very much. I bet the recipe is actually pretty adaptable and you can tinker with it as your creativity moves you.

Basic Biscotti

½ cup vegetable oil

¾ to 1 cup sugar (to taste)

3 eggs

3 ¼ cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon anise (or other) extract

1/3 cup each nuts, raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper.  Beat together the oil and sugar, then beat in the eggs. Mix in the extract. Sift the flour and baking powder together and mix until the dough is quite stiff and all the flour is absorbed. Fold in the optional nuts and fruit. Divide the dough, and form two logs about half an inch thick. Bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle.

Then slice the logs into bars about a half inch thick or as thick as you prefer. Put them back on the baking sheet and return them to the oven for about five minutes. Turn each bar over and bake another five minutes until dry and toasted a little. Let cool and store.

Makes about 36 slices of biscotti.




Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.