Best dessert with coffee: what else but biscotti? To maintain my “bottomless” biscotti jar, I bake a batch just about every week out of a jumble of memories from my grandmother’s kitchen and the closest ingredients on hand. Almonds are my usual choice for “mandelbrot,” but most any variety of nuts and dried fruit will do for biscotti.
Best biscotti recipe I know comes out of the pages of Andrew Carmellini’s Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food. This recipe is very forgiving with my frequent choices to change up its flavorings and modify its proportions. I’ve added maple and walnuts as substitutions for the recipe’s call for lemon zest and pistachio.
I generally shun flour-less baking for Passover, opting for simple fruit desserts. But for sake discovery, I experimented with a flour-less and butter-less version of this recipe, making it “parve” and Kosher for Passover. Matzoh cake meal is the substitute for the flour; vegetable oil fills in as the shortening. Thanks to an inspiration from Marcy Goldman’s Best Baking, gingerale goes into the mix instead of baking power. This dough is heavier and denser, as expected, so I’ve topped the logs with a mix of chopped nuts, cinnamon and maple syrup. The result: pretty tasty.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet. Using a whisk attachment on an electric mixer, whip eggs and sugar until mixture becomes light and frothy. Add melted butter(or oil) , maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
Replace whisk attachment with paddle attachment: Add flour, baking power, (Note: omit baking powder for kosher version; add gingerale) and mix at low speed. Stir in walnuts so that nuts are combined in a sticky dough.
Shape dough into 2 logs, each about 9 inches long, 2 inches wide. Place on baking sheet. Whisk the remain egg and lightly brush logs with egg wash.
Optional: Mix chopped walnuts with about a tablespoon of cinnamon and sugar together and press into the center of each log. Drizzle with additional maple syrup.
Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Remove loaves from oven and let them cool until the logs are warm, about 10 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 325°F. With a serrated knife, carefully cut into diagonal slices about ½-inch thick; dough will be slightly soft inside. Return slices in one layer to a cleaned baking sheet, and bake until crunchy.