Coffee House Biscotti and a Book Signing

biscotti pan 5 Apparently I wrote an entire book about biscotti without ever knowing that there is something in the world called a biscotti pan.

Are you familiar with it? It’s essentially a long, shallow loaf pan that produces the kind of biscotti ~ fat and as long as a baton ~ that you find in coffee houses the world over. The fine folks at Fante’s Kitchen Shop, in Philadelphia, brought the pans (there are two sizes) to my attention as we were planning an upcoming Ciao Biscotti book signing (March 7; see below for details).

biscotti pan 1 Traditional biscotti are mixed and shaped by hand. You start with a mound of flour and incorporate “wet” ingredients into a well in the center of the mound ~ as though you were making pasta. In testing recipes for the book, I opted for the convenience of a stand mixer. It makes quick work of mixing and also breaks up the nuts just a bit.

I shape the loaves by hand, patting them into shape on a baking sheet. The dough is sticky but it’s not a difficult process. You can tailor the size of your biscotti by making the loaves larger and smaller, and by cutting them into thin or thick slices (I prefer smaller ones for dipping in wine and larger ones for dunking in coffee).

Still, I was curious about these biscotti pans, so Fante’s sent me a couple to try out. One is long and thin and the other is shorter and wider. The pans come with recipes, but I wanted to see whether a recipe from the book would work. I used the wider pan (5 1/2- by 12 inches) and my recipe for traditional hazelnut biscotti. Instead of shaping the dough into two loaves, I pressed all of it into the pan (see above). Here’s what it looked like after baking.

biscotti pan 2

I let the loaf cool and then cut it into thick (3/4-inch) slices, which I baked cut-side-up on a rimmed baking sheet.

biscotti pan 3

Since I was going for over-the-top coffee house biscotti, I decided to drizzle the twice-baked slices generously with both bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate.

biscotti pan 4

Voilà ~ hazelnut coffee house biscotti, crunchy, chocolatey, perfumed with a little orange zest, and perfect for dunking in your Triple Grande Big Gulp Latte, or even your regular morning coffee.

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BOOK SIGNING: I will be at Fante’s Kitchen Shop, in Philadelphia, on Saturday March 7, 11 a.m – 2 p.m. There will be plenty of samples from Ciao Biscotti so if you are in the area please stop by to say hi and get a book signed.

Also, if you’ve never been you should stop by just to see this incredible store in the heart of Philly’s Italian neighborhood. It has been around for 99 years and it is a gem. When I visited for the first time a few months ago I was immediately reminded of the magic tent from Harry Potter, the one pitched at the quidditch world cup tournament. On the outside it’s ordinary, but once you pass through the flap it transforms into a palace that goes on forever. That’s sort of what it’s like when you step through the doorway at Fante’s. Room beyond room of equipment for baking, making pasta, preserving and more more more. Truly a cook’s mecca. Hope to see you there.

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OTHER NEWS and EVENTS

CIAO BISCOTTI: Please check my Events page, which I will continue to update as events are scheduled.

CULINARY TOUR: This year’s Culinary Tour of Abruzzo with Abruzzo Presto, takes place September 20-27, 2015. Join us as we explore the food and wine of one of Italy’s most beautiful and culinarily diverse regions. Our travels will take us into the mountains, to the countryside and along the Adriatic coast. It’s an unforgettable adventure.

HEIRLOOM MEALS RADIO: Back in summer, I recorded an interview with Carole Murko, the host of Heirloom Meals Radio. Carole’s show explores heritage food and recipes and the stories behind them. We talked about summers spent in Italy, eggplant meatballs and my mom’s awesome pot roast, among other things. The interview is now posted.

Makes about 16 large biscotti

Hazelnut Coffee House Biscotti

These are the kind of biscotti you see at coffee houses ~ big, crunchy, and drizzled with lots of chocolate. Perfect for dunking in cappuccino or hot chocolate. For even baking and uniform shape, use a biscotti pan. For a more rustic, homey look, shape the loaf by hand and bake it on a rimmed baking sheet. This recipe is adapted from Ciao Biscotti (Chronicle Books, 2015).

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • 3/4 cup toasted, skinned hazelnuts (you can by them already toasted and skinned at Trader Joe's)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (see Notes)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons hazelnut oil (use sunflower or olive oil as a substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (see Notes)
  • 3 ounces milk chocolate, melted (see Notes)

Instructions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 5 1/2- by 12-inch biscotti pan or a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the hazelnuts and mix on low speed to combine and break up some of the nuts. Mix in the eggs, 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil, and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough has formed. Drizzle in the remaining tablespoon of hazelnut oil if the dough seems dry or isn't coming together.

Scrape the dough into the biscotti pan, if using. Otherwise, scrape it onto the baking sheet. Use your hands and fingers to stretch and pat the dough into a loaf roughly 4 inches wide and 12 inches long. Press down on the loaf to flatten it out a bit and make the top even.

Bake the loaf for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is lightly browned and just set ~ it should be springy to the touch and there should be cracks on the surface. Transfer the biscotti pan or baking sheet to a cooling rack and let cool 5 minutes. Gently slide an offset metal spatula under the loaf to loosen it from the pan and transfer the loaf to the rack to cool for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Transfer the cooled loaf to a cutting board and, using a Santoku knife or a serrated bread knife, cut it crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut-side up, on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the slices to the rack to cool completely.

Arrange the cooled slices upright on the rack and set it over a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or parchment. Dip a fork into the melted bittersweet chocolate and wave it back and forth over the biscotti to create drizzles, droplets and splotches. Do the same with the melted milk chocolate. Place the baking sheet in a cool spot (I put mine in the garage) or the fridge for 30 minutes to set the chocolate. Let the biscotti return to room temperature before serving.

The biscotti will keep for up to 10 days in an airtight container stored at room temperature.

NOTES The amount of egg necessary to bring the dough together will depend on how large the eggs are and other variables, including how much moisture is in the flour and in the atmosphere (air tends to be drier in winter). If necessary, beat one additional egg and add it in driblets, just as much as you need to achieve a sticky dough. Save any leftover egg, if you like, and brush it on top of the biscotti loaves before you bake them.

To melt chocolate, chop coarsely and put the pieces in the top of a double boiler set over (but not touching) barely simmering water. Or put the pieces in a heat-proof bowl over (but not touching) a pan of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring gently now and again, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. To melt in the microwave, put the pieces of chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and zap at 50 percent power in 30-second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir after each interval.

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36 Responses to Coffee House Biscotti and a Book Signing

  1. Rosa Jeanne Mayland February 12, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    Very tempting and so heavenly! Perfect with a good cup of coffee.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. paninigirl February 12, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    I just made biscotti yesterday and have never considered baking them in a pan!

    • Domenica Marchetti February 14, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

      This was my first time using the pan, Janie. Not a necessity by any means, but it does make for a nice uniform shape.

  3. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way February 12, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    Ciao! Yes I have heard of biscotti pans — in fact we have two that we bought through King Arthur Flour. We used them a few times but ended up giving one to our daughter – we still have one in the cabinet. We found that free forming the dough ended up easier. Sometimes the biscotti would turn out too thick and be too soft. You do have to line the pan with parchment for the first bake or they won’t come out. Anyway, that is what we’ve found. You may find it works for you. Your biscotti recipe sounds wonderful. Grazie!!

    • Domenica Marchetti February 14, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

      Interesting! I did not line the pan (the one in the picture) with parchment, but I did grease it well and had no problem getting the loaf out. It sounds like I had just the right amount of batter in the pan. These were big and I cut them into thick (3/4-inch) slices but they did dry out nicely upon second baking.

  4. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way February 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    I just noticed how different your pans from ours. Our dough would fill up the pan too much. It looks like your pans are working great. We may have to give your type of pan a try.

    • Domenica Marchetti February 14, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

      Yes Marisa, sounds like that could be the issue. Maybe you should divide your dough in half and bake two loaves?

  5. Marilena Leavitt February 12, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

    Domenica, these look so good! Congratulations on your new book!
    Marilena

  6. NJ Spice February 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    I’ll bet that shape and size pan could be handy for other kinds of dishes, too, for instance almost anything layered, sweet or savory. I tend to grab unusual sizes when I see them, and those have turned out to be some of my most prized ones. I love that your book has some savory biscotti recipes too!

    • Domenica Marchetti February 14, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

      Faith, this is such a good idea. In fact, I was thinking the same thing the other day as I was writing up this post. I was thinking specifically about using the pan to shape torrone (nougat candy) or appetizers/desserts made with puff pastry or filo dough.

      • NJ Spice February 14, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

        And terrines, semifreddo, tiramisu… 🙂

  7. elisa February 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    I bought the biscotti pan long time ago through the King Arthur Flour catalog, and I love it, especially when I can double its use for a small cake. I intend to make your recipes Domenica, in my new kitchen as a welcome new start. Grazie for another wonderful book, I reserved it through Amazon.

    • Domenica Marchetti February 14, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

      It sounds as if this pan is plenty versatile. Thank you, Elisa. Wishing you many wonderful meals in your new kitchen. Enjoy!

  8. Marie February 12, 2015 at 8:30 pm #

    So what is your verdict, would you recommend using the pans instead of free forming? They look picture perfect and I’m excited to get your book!

    • Domenica Marchetti February 14, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

      Marie, I don’t think the pans are necessary, but they do make beautiful biscotti, and the pans make the job a little easier and neater. The ones I made turned out uniform in shape, which is something my hand-formed ones often lack. The biscotti are bigger than those that I usually make so I wouldn’t use a pan for bite-size biscotti. But I was definitely happy with the results.

  9. Laney (Ortensia Blu) February 13, 2015 at 1:02 am #

    Interesting concept to use a biscotti pan-never knew they existed. So like Marie asked, what’s your verdict?

  10. Paola February 13, 2015 at 1:39 am #

    I am a great believer if the free form method though I imagine would use the pan if I needed to save time. I like the concept though – very clever

    • Domenica Marchetti February 14, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

      Paola, yes, free-form is nice. I enjoy working with the sticky dough and the shaping of the loaves. Simplicity is a good thing in the kitchen.

  11. Karen February 13, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    Big congrats to you on the book, Domenica! Biscotti are one of few sweet things I bake…and eat. Love the touch of hazelnut in these.
    And, no idea this type of pan existed. After moving a year and a half ago, I found that I could get by with a lot less kitchen equipment, as I tried to simply how things are organized in the new (and smaller) kitchen I let go of a lot of stuff. Looks like it helps the log keep a uniform size, yes?
    I’ll keep in mind you’ll be in Philly – I might drive down for a college visit soon with my daughter – it would be great to meet you!

    • Domenica Marchetti February 14, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

      Karen, downsizing feels so good, doesn’t it? At the moment I have lots of clutter built up around me and I can’t wait to take a breather so that I can tackle it all and get rid of it. I would love to see you in Philly if you happen to be there. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. And good luck with the college tour!

  12. Chiara February 14, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    se non fossi a dieta stretta ne mangerei un vassoio pieno, si vede che sono una verà bontà !

    • Domenica Marchetti February 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

      Si, hai ragione, Chiara, sono un po ricchi. Io dovrei fare come stai facendo tu…dieta!

  13. Ciao Chow Linda February 14, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    I never heard of a biscotti pan but it sounds like my next kitchen purchase. Fant’s is a real treasure. You can find anything there. I wish i could come to the signing but i have tickets for an event that day. I’ll be in touch offline to see if we can connect though. I preordered the book and can’t wait for it to arrive.

  14. Jamie February 16, 2015 at 2:55 am #

    Gosh I thought I had left a comment on this delicious post! I love the idea of a biscotti pan! (like you, I probably also only would have discovered it after writing an entire book) I can’t wait to try this recipe… we are huge biscotti fans!! I wish I were closer so I could come to a book signing but I’ll help get the word out!

  15. Susan And Wade February 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    So sad…we don’t live in Philly to join the fun…any plans for a signing in the Atlanta are?

    • Domenica Marchetti February 16, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

      I’d love to come to Atlanta ~ I haven’t been in years! I’m afraid I don’t have any plans yet, but who knows? Any good venues I ought to look into? Cheers, D

      • Susan And Wade March 5, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

        There are a few bookstores, plus places like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, etc…not sure if they do book signings. Whole Foods is close by our house, plus Cook’s Warehouse is sure fun for book signings…Sur Le Table is close by at the Northpoint Mall or at Lenox Mall……plan that Atlanta trip soon!

  16. Marguerite Rigby February 16, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

    I believe there’s a typo in this recipe. I made it exactly and the dough was crumbly and wouldn’t hold together despite adding the additional oil. So I checked it against the classic biscotti recipe on line and found it was almost the same except for 3 eggs, not 2. I’m surmised that others did not mention the consistency of the dough.

    • Domenica Marchetti February 16, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

      Hi Marguerite, thanks for writing. I’m sorry you had trouble with the recipe. I’ve made it plenty of times and haven’t had any problems so I’m not sure what happened. There are always variables with baking, such as how much moisture is in the air, in the flour, how big the eggs are, etc. The air is winter is often drier and that could be a factor. In general I prefer less egg in my biscotti dough because I find they turn out crunchier. But obviously the dough needs to come together. One option would be to beat an additional egg and add it in driblets until the consistency is to your liking. If you have any leftover egg, you can brush it on top of the loaves before baking them. Hope this helps!

  17. Adri Barr Crocetti February 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    Your biscotti look so tempting and absolutely perfect. It must be quite exciting to launch a book. I wish you great success with it. People love biscotti, and I certainly remember how much we enjoyed the ones you sent at Christmas. I think you have another success on your hands!

  18. Laura (Tutti Dolci) February 18, 2015 at 2:54 am #

    I love your double chocolate drizzle, these biscotti look scrumptious!

  19. Meeta February 19, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Congratulations on your new book Domenica! But what really tempted me were these biscotti! Just up my road … all I need is an espresso. All the best!

  20. Frank Fariello February 22, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    You know, not being much of a baker, I’ve never actually made these myself… but from your recipe, they don’t sound all that hard to make. May actually give this a go one of these days. Good luck with the book signing!

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