Biscotti has always been a favorite of mine, probably because I love crunchy cookies. I also like cookies that have a number of flavors involved and biscotti always seem to have that. Whether nuts, flavorings, chocolate or fruits, you can always enjoy a burst of flavors from these treats.
Every Thursday, I get to enjoy lunch with the United Regional Chamber of Commerce staff. I look forward to these lunches as I actually will take time to enjoy lunch and wonderful conversation. Some Thursdays we will order lunch out, other times, we walk to a cute little sandwich shop called Jonathan's Coffee Cafe. Just recently, Jonathan's began selling little bags of biscotti. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the bakery who makes them, but they are quite good. I was drawn to the Mocha Walnuts and then the Cornmeal Craisin. The cornmeal craisin are delicious...with a hint of orange and crunchy demerara sugar on top.
Last week, my mother had some surgery and I went to her house to make some meals for the week. While I was getting my supplies at the supermarket, I kept thinking about those biscotti. I grabbed a bag of cornmeal and figured my mother should have the other baking ingredients. Once I arrived, I went on a search for some online recipes for cornmeal craisin biscotti. I came across a David Lebovitz recipe called Cormeal Biscotti. It was perfect. My mother had all the ingredients, plus a bag of craisins. I figured I would start with this recipe and then add and subtract a few ingredients after that. The biscotti was very easy to make, all the dry ingredients in one bowl, melt the butter in another bowl, mix the eggs, vanilla and zest - basically done. Place logs on the cookie sheets and we were ready to go. The house smelled wonderful and after the second baking, we were scrambling to taste these biscotti. They were crunchy, the toasted walnuts and crasins brought great flavor with the subtle hint of lemon. As my mother enjoyed a cup of tea, I couldn't tell if she was actually drinking the tea or eating it with the tea soaked biscotti.
The next day when I got home, I knew I would change the recipe a bit. First, I doubled the recipe...I like to save some extra cookies to freeze. Then I swapped out the lemon zest for the orange zest and finished with demerara sugar sprinkled on the top. I think I found my Cornmeal Craisin Biscotti.
I brought a batch to work this past week and everyone loved them. The best comment was my co-worker, Manassah. "I hate you, these are so good!" The best complement I can receive. I also brought a few into the United Regional Chamber. "OK, I need you to try these, I think I recreated our biscotti from Jonathan's", I said to Lisa and Kim. "WOW, I think these taste better", said Lisa. More music to my ears. These are a keeper!
Now, grab some cornmeal, toast some walnuts and make a batch of these biscotti. They will be a perfect holiday treat to enjoy as a quick breakfast or a wonderful dessert with coffee or tea.
Ingredients for the Cornmeal Craisin Biscotti with Toasted Walnuts and Orange Rind
(We doubles this recipe to make about 60 cookies)
3 cups of flour
1 cup of cornmeal, preferably stone ground
2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Zest of one orange
1/2 cup of butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 cups of craisins
2 cups of walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
3-4 tablespoons of demerara sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place parchment paper on 3 cookie sheets.
2. In a large bowl, place the dry ingredients of flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix together and then put aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix eggs, vanilla and orange zest with a small hand whisk.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients bowl. Pour in the egg mixture, stir, then add the melted butter. Mix until the batter becomes wet and crumbly. Add the craisins and walnuts and mix to incorporate all ingredients.
5. Place the mixture on a slightly floured counter or board and knead a few times. Divide the dough into three pieces. Roll two logs 2 inches by 13 inches from each piece. Place 2 logs per cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden and they feel set. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.
7. Reduce the oven to 250 degrees. Remove the biscotti from the parchment paper and using a serrated knife, cut the biscotti on a diagonal about 1 inch apart.
8. Place the cookies on the cookie sheet (no parchment paper needed) and bake for 20 minutes. remove from oven and cool.
9. Enjoy and then freeze a few. Always great to have something special when guests stop by.
Written by Tricia White