We might have a new favorite snack around here. Upon reading the recipe Lien chose for the Bread Baking Babes’ fourth anniversary (!), I predicted deliciousness, because it features quite a few of my favorite ingredients: semolina, anise seeds, olive oil. It’s hard to go wrong with that combination. Even so, I wasn’t prepared for how much I would like these wildly aromatic, savory (but sweet, without a speck of sugar, thanks to the anise), flaky, crumbly Biscotti Picanti (Spicy Sicilian Rusks) from Anissa Helou’s terrific book, Savory Baking from the Mediterranean.
Biscotti means “twice baked,” indicating the two baking phases involved here. The recipe calls for loaves of dough to be sliced prior to proofing, then baked initially on high heat before separating the slices and allowing them to dry thoroughly in a cooler oven. Because I added a little too much olive oil (140 grams instead of 130 – 135), and probably for other mysterious reasons, my dough was much too soft to slice before baking. So I baked the three loaves at 500F for 15 minutes, then sliced them with a serrated knife (at which point, my number one taste tester sampled one and declared “I. Love. Them.”) and spread the slices out on the baking sheet to dry at 175F.
I’m not apologizing for the extra olive oil; I’ll use the same amount when I make them again, because I. Love.Them. And already my mind is awhirl with ideas for variations on this delightful snack: What other seeds and spices could we include? What about toppings? And I’m dreaming of a sourdough version, of course.
I do believe the Babes (for links, see my right sidebar) are unanimous this month in pronouncing these biscotti a winner. Please bake with us! The recipe is here on Lien’s blog. To be included in the Buddy roundup, send a photo plus a link to your blog post or photo-sharing site to Lien by February 28.