Mixed Cookie Plate

Biscotti al Cioccolato, Chocolate Biscotti

(Makes 40 Cookies)

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 7/8 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons brewed espresso
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups blanched, toasted hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and espresso until the sugar dissolves. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the egg mixture and pour the rest into the dry ingredients. Stir until a dough forms. Work in the hazelnuts, then divide the dough in half and form 2 logs, each abut 15 inches long. (The dough will be sticky. Wet your hands to make handling easier.)

Place the logs, at least 3 inches apart, on the baking sheet. Bake them for 10 minutes, then remove them from the oven and brush them with the reserved egg wash. Return them to the oven for another 10 minutes, then let the logs cool for 10 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees. With a spatula, transfer the logs to a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, cut them into ½-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices on their sides on the baking sheet and bake for another 5 minutes. Then turn the biscotti over and return them to the oven for a final 5 minutes. Cool the biscotti on wire racks and store them in an airtight container.

Biscotti di Noci Misti, Mixed Nut Biscotti

(Makes 40 Cookies)

  • ½ cup sweet butter
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup toasted almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup toasted hazelnuts
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup toasted pistachios
  • Grated zest of ½ orange

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the 2 eggs and mix well. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and continue mixing. Mix in the lemon and orange zests.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the sugar-egg mixture and blend thoroughly. Add the toasted nuts and blend thoroughly.

Divide the dough into 2 parts. Wet your hands and form each portion into a 12-inch log. Place the logs on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the logs are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and brush them with the egg wash. Return the logs to the oven for 5 minutes more, then remove and cool the biscotti for 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees. With a long metal spatula, remove the logs to a cutting board. Use a long sharp knife to cut the logs in 1-inch thick slices. Stand the cookies up on the baking sheet, and bake for another 15 minutes. Cook on wire racks. Store in airtight container.

Ricciarelli, Siena Cookies

(Makes 20 Cookies)

  • 1 (8 ounce) can almond pasteI
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
  • 1 cup plus 5 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the almond paste in a food processor and pulse until the paste is softened. It will take between 2 to 6 minutes, depending on the quality of the almond paste. Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the confectioners sugar and blend, then add the Grand Marnier and blend again.

Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Transfer the almond paste mixture to a separate bowl. Add the whites, a tablespoon at a time. You will only need 5 tablespoons. Mix until a very stiff dough forms. Fold in the almonds and mix well.

Pinch off heaping tablespoons of dough and shape them into little logs, about 2 inches long ¾ inch wide. Place them on the sheet pan and bake until golden brown. 20 to 25 minutes. While the cookies are still hot, dust them lightly with the remaining 3 tablespoons of confectioners sugar.