biscotti squared

With two young girls, I’ve witnessed (and participated in) more than a few tea parties. My friend Mary has upped the ante, though, with the annual tea party she hosts for my girls. We’re on year five (I think) and each has had a theme (black-and-white, princess, autumn harvest) carried out with classy decor as well as fun dollar-store party favors. The food has been simple, yet elegant, and always a perfect fit for the theme. (The black-and-white year featured mini chocolate cupcakes with white frosting as well as the reverse.)

A purchase of Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s Splendid Table (a.k.a. the Bible of all things culinary from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy) had Mary thinking Italian this year, so we were treated to a lovely table draped with rich purples and reds. Tea-time treats included grape tomatoes stuffed with fresh mozzarella pearls and a small basil leaf, pears roasted with brown sugar and butter, and assorted small cookies and candies.

Splendid Table-theme tea–splendid!

Having long collected biscotti recipes, I jumped at an excuse to bake up a batch to contribute to the tea party spread. Torn between two recipes, I made them both. Polenta Biscotti looked authentic on the page as the dough was made of cornmeal and olive oil. It looked terribly one-note in the mixing bowl, so I chopped up a cup of fresh cranberries to knead into the dough.

golden biscotti dough, pre-cranberries

polenta biscotti dough–before baking

polenta biscotti–after first bake

polenta biscotti–sliced and ready for second bake

The other biscotti recipe, Triple Chocolate, had been clipped from a Fitness magazine in the early ’90s and was fat-free except for an egg, pistachios, and chocolate. (Though doubling both the white and dark chocolate steered my version right out of that low-fat zone.) Both biscotti were tasty, though might have been a bit easier to chew had I not left them in the oven too long. Biscotti are meant to be dunked, though, so a quick soak in hot chocolate, coffee, and–yes–tea, make them very edible. Mary and I enjoyed the biscotti more than did my girls, but they were too happy sipping sugar cube-laden tea to care. Thank you, Mary, for yet another amazing Tea Party.

Polenta Biscotti

I stirred about a cup of coarsely chopped fresh cranberries into the dough before shaping.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (Original recipe called for “fine cornmeal.” Ever the recipe-rule breaker, I used stone-ground.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons mild-flavored olive oil or canola oil (I used vanilla olive oil from the Oilerie, which was fun, but not a deal-breaker.)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cornmeal baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla until frothy. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture to form soft dough. Turn dough out onto well-floured surface. Shape into 12-inch (or so) log; transfer to baking sheet. Bake dough 25 minutes or until almost firm when pressed on top. Remove from oven; cool on baking sheet 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Transfer cooled log to cutting board; slice diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with serrated knife. Return slices to baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Turn each slice over; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until lightly golden. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes about 2 dozen biscotti.

Triple Chocolate Biscotti

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

In bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. In separate bowl, beat together egg, egg white, sugar and vanilla. Gradually beat flour mixture into egg mixture until blended. Stir in nuts and chocolate. Gently shape dough into 12×2-inch log. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes or until almost firm when pressed on top. Remove from oven; cool on baking sheet 20 minutes.

Transfer cooled log to cutting board; slice diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with serrated knife. Return slices to baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Turn each slice over; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until dough is firm. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes about 18 biscotti.

5 thoughts on “biscotti squared

  1. Oh! I love the idea of polenta biscotti — very fun. And of course, I love that you took a low-fat recipe and fattened it up. I seem to always do that with Cooking Light recipes. “A butter sauce with only a teaspoon of butter?? Let’s drop in a few tablespoons, I’m sure that was a typo!” =)

  2. funny–our intentions are good, right? I’m all for healthy veggies, etc, but I don’t think cookies (and butter sauces!) are necessarily supposed to be “low-fat.” Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours:-)

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