The holidays are almost upon us and for those of us who are culinarily inclined, that only means one thing: Cookies. My kitchen is under a perpetual haze of flour these days. But much as I like cookies, I have to admit that all the butter and sugar can make them too heavy and cloying. While searching for a lighter, but still festive, alternative to my regular cookies, I came upon this recipe which I had clipped out of a magazine a couple of years ago. The minute I read the words rosemary and pine nut biscotti, I was sold. I love rosemary, whether it's in a marinade for grilled lamb, on a crostini with honey, walnuts and goat cheese, or infused into a simple syrup to be added to fizzy cocktails.
Biscotti are Italian cookies with a dense, crunchy texture which comes from being baked twice. These are made with olive oil rather than butter, and are not too sweet. They are easy to make, too: Just stir everything together, bake, let cool, then slice and bake some more. The olive oil and rosemary give them a haunting, woodsy flavor. Add in crunchy cornmeal and buttery pine nuts, and I can definitely say that these biscotti are the most elegant things to ever come out of my kitchen. Dunk them in coffee, pack them in a box to gift them, or just eat them by the handful like I did.
Rosemary-Pine Nut Biscotti
Adapted from Eating Well magazine. The biscotti can be kept in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Makes approximately 20 biscotti.
1.5 cups (210 g) flour
2/3 cup (80 g) fine yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup (90 g) pine nuts
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (135 g) sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil.
2. Thoroughly mix the flour, cornmeal, pine nuts, rosemary and baking powder in a large bowl.
3. Whisk the eggs, sugar, oil and salt in a medium bowl just until combined and uniform (but not until the sugar dissolves).
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a dough. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and form into a 12x2.5 inch (30x7 cm) log. Transfer to the oiled baking sheet.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (160C). With a serrated knife, gently slice the log crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place them cut-side down on the baking sheet. Some of the slices might break apart and that's OK, just bake them and save them for yourself.
7. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn over and continue baking for 10 minutes more. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely.