Friday, November 26th, 2010
I’ve been a biscotti-maker for awhile now. I don’t think there is any simpler and yet more awe-inspiring cookie on the planet. Biscotti is deceptively simple to make, and yet somehow, its recipients always seem to be amazed that “really, you made that yourself?” Yes, yes I did. And you wouldn’t believe how easy it is.
The secret to that crispness that lends itself so well to coffee-dunking is twice-baking (it’s not just for potatoes). The basic idea is to bake the dough in a long loaf, let cool slightly, slice on the diagonal, and bake again. And you’ll be happy to know that neither baking time is very long. I know, you have a life. Not to worry.
This isn’t a traditional biscotti recipe, which wouldn’t contain butter. But it also has way more moisture and depth than a piece of cardboard, which is more than I can say for most coffee shop biscotti. It’s a riff on my usual favorite, mixed up a bit for fall and the start of the holidays. Enjoy with a cup of coffee, and please take some to your boss or anyone else you need to impress.
Pumpkin Spice Biscotti
Makes about 20 cookies
I like to use agave nectar in place of sugar when baking biscotti, but because of the super-moist pumpkin I decided to use part sugar this time. If you’d like to use just sugar instead, use 1 cup of sugar and reduce flour to 3 3/4 cups.
4 cups all-purpose flour (3 3/4 cups if using sugar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
4 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a medium bowl. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla.
With an electric or stand mixer set on medium high, beat butter, pumpkin, agave nectar, and sugar for about two minutes. Reduce the speed to mixer and add the egg mixture. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until well combined.
Scoop the dough onto the middle of one of the baking sheets. With lightly floured hands, press the dough into a loaf of sorts, about 6″ x 14.” This isn’t an exact figure, but should give you an idea of what to shoot for.
Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Set the sheet on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes.
Raise the oven temperature to 400°F. Transfer the loaf to a large cutting board. Using a large serrated knife, slice the loaf into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal. Place the slices flat side down on the two baking sheets. Bake again until golden brown, about 8 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely, and then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
High-Altitude Notes: Reduce baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons. Bake the first time at 375°F for about 30 minutes, and for the second time at 425°F for about 8 minutes.