Friday, August 7, 2009

Biscotti for the beach

When I went to the beach with my husband's family a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to bring along something homemade that we could snack on all week.

My in-laws love Italian food, and they're not huge sweets people (sacrilege, I know). And whatever I made needed to survive a 4.5-hour plane ride, followed by a 2-hour car ride, not to mention a major climate change.

A few days before we left, I had an epiphany: biscotti. I'd never made it before, but it is one of those things I've always wanted to try. I was afraid it would be too difficult, but it really could not have been easier (not to mention delicious!). The biscotti traveled amazingly well, and we ate them with our coffee in the morning and whenever we needed a little something to hold us over until the next meal.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon anise extract, or 3 drops anise oil (I didn't have anise, so I used 2 tblspns almond extract and 1 tblspn vanilla)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

2. In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and anise flavoring (or almond/vanilla) until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. Divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1/2 inch thickness (I just used my hands, but you could probably also use a rolling pin).

3. At this point, you can add toppings. I added mini chocolate chips to one loaf and sliced almonds to the other. Both turned out great. You could also try dried cranberries, walnuts, white chocolate chips, pistachios -- the combinations are endless! You could even drizzle chocolate over them or dunk them halfway into chocolate after they're done.

4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown (I don't think mine took this long, so make sure you keep an eye on them).
Remove them from the oven, and while they're still hot, use a pizza cutter to cut them into strips. Flip the strips on their sides and return to oven, baking an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Slices should be lightly toasted.


Here's my father-in-law, enjoying a piece:

I wish I had more photos of the baking process, but my darling husband accidentally erased them off the camera. So instead, I will show you how they looked after my in-laws tore into them that first night of vacation:


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