Something to Munch On!

Biscotti 1Cara/Andrea here,
On occasion, rather than wax poetic about some bit of historical research or intriguing person who has caught our fancy, one of us Wenches will invoke the “Life Is Hitting Me Between the Eyes” rule offer up some lighter fare for you to munch on. Well, it’s my turn. I am in the midst of selling my house and buying a new place—the closing take place at the end of this month, and I am in a state of mild—well, more than mild panic. How did I accumulate so much STUFF to sort through. BooksNot to speak of packing up all my books. (The mover who came to estimate the job looked at me with this really puzzled expression and said ,“What do you do? I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Tuscany eveningSo, since I need a lot of energy to keep me going (and we all know sugar is a major food group when one is under stress) I thought I’d share a recipe for biscotti that I recently learned in Tuscany. Granted they won’t taste quite as good as when they are made by the gorgeous and charming Michele and his assistant. (He is a Michelin-starred chef and rather delicious to look at! I was lucky enough to get a cooking lesson from him.) And another word of warning—they should be munched with a glass of prosecco overlooking the rolling Tuscan hills at sunset.

Biscotti 2Now, lest you think I was merely lollygagging all morning with Michele, I do have some “research” tips to pass on. In Europe, it’s standard to weigh ingredients rather than measure them as we do. Michele assures me it is far more accurate, and in pastry, precision is the key for the best results. Who am I to argue!

So, without further ado, the recipe, which I guarantee will bring a smile to your lips—along with a delightful kiss of honey. (Apologies to fellow American readers as I have not yet translated the quantities to American weights/measurements.)

Biscotti 4Ingredients
200 grams eggs
375 grams sugar
100 grams egg yolks
25 grams acacia honey
500 grams flour
2.5 grams baking powder
2.5 grams vanilla powder
400 grams almonds


1.  Whisk the eggs, sugar, egg yolks and honey until very pale yellow.

Biscotti 52.  Sift together flour, baking powder and vanilla powder. Add to egg mixture, slowly at first then quickly, mixing just to combine.

Biscotti 73.  Toast the almonds for 3 minutes in the oven at 200 C, chop in food processor, then mixture into batter.

4.   Put batter in a pastry bag and pipe out lines of the dough (1.5-2 inches wide) well spaced, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 200 C for 7-9 minutes.

5. Let cool, slice on diagonal to make “biscotti,” then put them back in the pan and bake at 180 C or 8 minutes. Serve with chilled vin santo!  Perfect summer fare! (Or winter fare with hot chocolate for our readers who reside in the Southern hemisphere.

Biscotti 9So a quick question before I head back to the kitchen. Do you have a favorite comfort when you are under stress? These biscotti are wonderful, but my real go-to treat are blondies with golden raisins and walnuts, baked a little underdone so they are really gooey! They always seem to make me feel better no matter what!