Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cornmeal Olive Oil Biscotti with Dates and Walnuts

These biscotti are unique, delicious and healthy. They're an excellent alternative to the floury, bland, mass-produced biscotti that have caused so many people to think they don't enjoy this Italian delicacy. The base recipe can accept any fruit/nut/etc. combination you can dream of, so have fun playing with the possibilities. Cranberry and white chocolate? Currants and pecans? Substitue orange zest and juice for the lemon? You decide!
Cornmeal Olive Oil Biscotti with Dates and Walnuts
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (or other nut)
2/3 cup chopped pitted dates (or other dried fruit)

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder together and set aside. Beat the olive oil and sugar until smooth, frothy and lightened in color. Beat in the salt, pepper, eggs, lemon zest and juice. Stir in the dry ingredients in and then add the chopped nuts and fruit.  

Using wet hands, shape into a long rectangle 12 inches long and 3 inches thick (you can make it shorter and thicker if you wish).  Cook for 20-25 minutes but check after 15 to gauge doneness. 

Remove from the oven and lower the temp to 325F. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Lightly pat with wet hands to moisten the outer shell a bit and place on a cutting board. Carefully slice the log into 1/2 inch biscotti, laying each flat on it’s side back in the pan. I used a chef's knife with good results but you may also try a serrated blade. Cook for another 25 (+ or -) minutes flipping each biscotti at the halfway point to ensure even browning.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.