Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pepper-Nut Biscotti

Pepper-Nut Biscotti

I love biscotti! I love to eat them! I love to dunk them! Most of all I love to bake them. The Italians have been making biscotti for hundreds of years! They are a lovely crisp, crunchy cookie slice. The word biscotti translated means twice-baked because, you mix the dough, shape it into logs, bake, cool, slice and bake again!  My obsession with biscotti started years ago. Today, coffee houses are all over the place, my favorite being Starbucks! Give me a "Grande Green Tea Latte" and I'm a happy girl!  I  remember my first visit  to one of those coffee shops, that were popping up all over the place about 16 years ago. You know the ones.  Comfy sofas and chairs, inviting you to sit and stay for a while. Read your paper, play on your computer, or just chat with a friend. They always had pretty jars, filled with biscotti!
I remember my first bite. I knew I had to find a recipe and bake my own. The first time I baked them, it was definitely a challenge. However, to my gratification, I have since mastered the biscotti!  In fact, according to some family members, it has become one of my specialties! Great served with a glass of wine, cup of coffee or tea, or just by themselves. A true dunking cookie! You can enjoy them for breakfast, dessert or just as a snack. I make several different varieties but the Pepper-nut Biscotti is one of my favorites. It also happens to be my most requested cookie. I try to keep a tin filled with biscotti in my kitchen all the time! They are relatively low in fat and have a long shelf life. They really are easy to make and are so delicious!  This is a recipe I adapted from one I found in the NY Times years ago. It was from Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bread in NYC.  Enjoy!

Pepper-Nut Biscotti

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks softened, unsalted butter 
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups hazelnuts, whole and pieces, toasted.
1 egg white, slightly beaten ( for egg wash)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
  2. Combine flour, pepper, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to blend.
  3. In bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, orange and lemon zests and extracts. Beat just until smooth and well blended. Add flour mixture, and beat at lowest speed (or stir by hand) just until dry ingredients are moistened and incorporated. Add hazelnuts, and mix until nuts are distributed into the dough.
  4. Divide dough into quarters. On a lightly floured surface, shape each quarter into a flattened log 14 inches long and 2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Put two on each baking sheet. Brush with egg white.
  5. Bake logs until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. If baking both trays at once, rotate your pans between oven shelves halfway through baking. Logs should be somewhat firm at the sides and center. Cool logs for 30 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board. Cut each log on a slight angle into 3/4 inch pieces. Keep pieces together as logs are sliced, then slide pieces together to reform logs. Transfer logs to baking sheets, and then separate slices, leaving about 1/2 inch space between each slice.
  6. Bake biscotti again until golden brown. about 16 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Transfer to airtight container. Makes about 6 dozen.

Dry ingredients
Beating together butter and sugar. 
Beating in eggs.
Zested orange
Add zest to the butter mixture.
Mix flour at low speed into butter mixture, add nuts and form into logs.
Two logs
Brush with egg white.
Just out of the oven…first time.
Tin of baked biscotti!


  1. Biscotti with ground pepper? Intriguing! They look great!

  2. I'm a sucker for chocolate biscotti, but the ingredients look so interesting in this recipe. I am going to print it and try it. My husband loves biscotti with his coffee. Thank you for the recipe!