Seeing as I was a little quiet around here on the blog last week with no recipe to share, I thought I would offer you something sweet to make up for it. Perhaps something that goes well with an afternoon or after-dinner cup of tea or coffee?
Ahh yes. The crunchy Italian cookie...biscotti.
Perfect for dipping.
So crunchy and light.
You'll want to fill your cookie jar with this Italian favourite for a sophisticated treat.
In this recipe I paired dried lavender with fresh orange zest. Lovely lavender is one of my favourite flowers/herbs, and is a unique ingredient to use in baking. The first time I tried lavender was a few years ago in a dessert made of fresh seasonal berries that was topped off with a lavender whipped cream. It was so delicate. I could not believe it when I was told that it was made with real fresh lavender.
I love the smell of the lavender mingly with the orange while the bake in the oven. It fills the house with the smell of cookies and fragrant lavender at the same time.
Now if you've never made biscotti before, fear not, it's not as difficult as you may think. Its actually quite simple.
First mix together the sugar, butter, lavender, orange zest, and vanilla until well blended. Beat in the egg whites, one at a time.
Next you'll combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually add this to the sugar mix until blended and stir in the currants.
For the next part you want to shape the dough with lightly floured hands to form a log that's about 10 inches long and 1 inch tall. Flatten the dough and place it on the cookie sheet like you can see I've done here. Now it bakes for a good 30 minutes and cools for 5-10 minutes. So grab a good book and put your feet up while the smells fill your house.
Once the cookie has cooled enough for you to handle it, cut the roll diagonally into 1/2 inch cookies. I find it's best to use a very long serrated knife for this. A good bread knife works well. Now put the biscotti back on the cookie sheet standing upright to bake for a second time.
These are definitely worth the time it takes to make them.
They store very well so feel free to make a double batch.
Lavender Orange Biscotti (makes 12)
- 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp dried lavender
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups red fife flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp dried currants
- Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Beat together sugar, butter, lavender, orange zest, and vanilla until well blended. Beat in egg whites, one at a time.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, beating until combined.
- Turn the dough out onto prepared baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle your hands and the dough with flour. Shape the dough into a 10-inch-long roll; flatten the roll of dough to a 1-inch thickness. Set sheet in the oven and bake at 325˚F for 30 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove baking sheet from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Using a spatula transfer the roll to a cutting board. Slice diagonally with a serrated knife and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices upright back on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti slices at 325˚F for 15 minutes until golden brown on each side once again.
- Remove from baking sheet and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container; they will last for up to a month.
- You may also want to use a rolling pin to help with flattening the dough.
- The biscotti can also be frozen to last for several months. Make sure they are in an air-tight container or freezer bag.