Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:
What I love most about cookies is their versatility. On days when all you want is a big dose of chocolate, there are quite a few cookies that will squash that craving in seconds. Other times, a lighter, more elegant cookie may be a more appropriate accompaniment to a meal or beverage, such as biscotti. Biscotti cookies are crisp and oblong Italian cookies that must often be dunked in espresso to soften before eating. Biscotti literally means “twice-cooked,” alluding to the two step method of baking them: first as a large log of dough, then after being sliced into individual cookies.
The baking process sounds complicated, but really it’s not. Biscotti dough comes together in a matter of minutes, due to the absence of butter. Without creaming or softening butter, all there is to the recipe is some whisking and folding before sliding the dough logs into the oven.
Even within biscotti themselves, there remains a wide variety of flavors. The most traditional are the Sicilian ones flavored with anise seed, while others use spices, nuts, or dried fruit to add flavor. Relatives of biscotti, called cantucci, are often flavored with small chocolate chunks.
I used Earl Grey tea in these biscotti primarily because Earl Grey flavors have taken the Bay Area by storm. Every specialty ice cream shop has Earl Grey and chocolate chunk ice cream, and it’s not uncommon to see Earl Grey macarons. I wanted to try my hand at using Earl Grey in baked goods, and I loved the resulting floral and citrus notes the Earl Grey added to the biscotti. Earl Grey is made with black tea and bergamot, a type of citrus, which explains the unique scent of Earl Grey compared to all other British black teas.
Next time you’re looking for a simple, yet impressive cookie, try these biscotti. They go perfectly with a hot beverage or alongside a rich dessert—I think a lavender panna cotta would be an excellent pairing for the Earl Grey flavors.
Even better, they last for longer than a week, so you will always have cookies at the ready.
Earl Grey Biscotti
Biscotti base adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes about 3 dozen biscotti
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Earl Grey tea leaves (from 1-2 tea bags)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until very pale yellow, then whisk in the Earl Grey tea leaves. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir with a rubber spatula until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet and divide in half. Form each half into a log 13″ x 2″, making sure the logs are at least 2 inches apart. Baking for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and just beginning to crack, rotating half-way through baking. Remove from the oven, and reduce oven temperature to 325F.
- Let the logs cool for 10 minutes, then using a serrated knife, slice them at a diagonal into ½ inch thick slices, then place cut side up on the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp, flipping the biscotti halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Note: The biscotti will keep well in an airtight container for at least a week. Serve them dipped in hot tea or espresso.