I just love these little cookies. They're lemony and have a nice bite. They have a different texture than a lot of cookies. They're not crispy in the same way a lot of cookies are, but then again, they also have half the calories and a third of the fat content of your typical cookie (like chocolate chip or snickerdoodle).
Traditionally, biscotti do not have any fat in them. No butter, no shortening, no oil. However, I found those cookies to have a somewhat less than satisfying texture, so I started experimenting. What I came up with is a nice in between, I think. There's enough butter in them to have a nice flavor and a little bit of snap, but not so much as to be overwhelming. I think you'll really like them. I sure do.
While these twice baked little snacks involve a little more effort than a normal cookie, they're still pretty straight forward. And they are so darn cute!
You start by mixing together all of the cookie ingredients. I use my stand mixer, but the dough is soft enough, you could probably mix them fairly easily by hand. Turn the dough out onto the counter and roll into a log. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a eight to ten inch long roll. Press each log flat.
These will rise a bit, so you want to start them off fairly thin. Shoot for about a half inch thickness.
Bake the cookies in a 350° F oven for about 40 minutes. Be sure the cookies have started to brown before pulling them out. If you pull them out before they brown a little, the inside often has an undercooked flavor that won't go away even after the second baking.
Remove from the oven and carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. Reduce the heat in the oven to 325° F. Carefully slice the loaves across at half inch intervals using a serrated blade. You should end up with 13-15 slices plus two small ends. I eat the ends at this point. It's the cook's prerogative.
Place an oven safe rack in the cookie sheet and lay the slices wide side down; spread them out as much as possible. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip the cookies over and bake another 10 minutes. Let them cool completely before icing.
Mix together the icing ingredients until they are smooth. Use enough milk to obtain a consistency that allows the icing to pour easily. Place in a flat bottomed dish that allows you to easily dip the bottom of the biscotti into the icing.
Let the excess icing drip off and then lay them upside down on a cookie sheet to dry. Allow at least an hour for drying.
These biscotti keep well in a plastic bag or other air tight container for at least a week. They are very attractive if wrapped in small bags and given as gifts.
Yield: 25-30 biscotti
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
For the icing:
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2-4 TBS milk
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and lemon zest together. Add the lemon juice, eggs, and butter and beat until well mixed. Turn out on a counter and form into a log about one foot long. Divide into two logs. Shape each log until they are about 8-10 inches long. Press until they are each about one half inch thick. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until they start to turn golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F. Using a serrated knife, slice into half inch wide cookies. Place the wire rack onto the cookie sheet and lay the slices, wide side down, on the rack, spread out as much as possible. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and then for ten minutes more. Cool completely before icing.
Mix the icing ingredients together. Use enough milk to make a fairly thin icing; the icing should pour easily. Place in a flat bottom dish or bowl and dip the bottom of each biscotti into the icing. Let drain slightly and then place upside down on a baking sheet to dry. Let dry at least one hour. Store in an air tight container up to one week.