The Perfect Biscotti

Biscotti is an Italian cookie which is twice-baked. It makes a wonderful snack and is a great accompaniment to coffee, tea or wine. It is a light and textured cookie and makes a great alternative to the more sugary cookies available at the local supermarket. With biscotti you can really experiment with the ingredients: you can add chocolate chips, any time of nut, and even dried fruit like cranberries. Here Eva shows us her recipe for biscotti. We’ve tried many different biscotti recipes and found this one to be the best.

  • 2 cups of corn oil
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 5 1/2 cups of flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • The zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds or sesame seeds (to roll your biscotti logs)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Lightly brush your large pan with oil.

Using an electric blender, mix together 2 cups of corn oil and 2 cups of sugar. Add the zest of 1 orange and continue mixing. Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and then add the six eggs. It’s best to crack each egg into a small bowl and then add the eggs to the mixture one by one.

In another bowl add 4 teaspoons of baking powder to 1 cup of flour and mix together, and then add this to the egg mixture. Slowly add in the remaining 4 ½ cups of flour to the mixture. Continue working the dough with your hands.

On your countertop sprinkle some of your almond/sesame seeds in front of you. Take a large handful of the dough mixture and roll it into a log on your countertop, rolling it onto the almonds/sesame seeds. Be sure to oil your hands before handling the dough; the oil makes it much easier to work with the dough and keeps the dough from sticking to your hands. Continue working the dough into logs and place these on your greased pans. Sprinkle any remaining almonds on top of your biscotti logs.

Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the biscotti logs from the pan and place them on a cutting board. Slice the logs into diagonal pieces and place these pieces sideways on your pan and put it back in the oven at 250 degrees for another 30 minutes to dry them out.

These biscotti are wonderful served with Greek coffee!

How to make Greek Coffee

Greek coffee is both delicious and mysterious! It is a wonderful drink to serve your house guests, but also provides a window into your past, present and future…well, apparently, but we’re not quite sure. Greek coffee is quite strong and is served with the foam at the top and the grounds at the bottom of the cup. It is made using a small pot, called a briki in Greek, and is sweetened according to taste: bitter, medium, sweet, or very sweet. The coffee is served in demitasse or espresso cups and is always served with a cold glass of water. We bought our coffee in Greece while we were there last summer, but it is also widely available in Greek specialty stores as well as the ethnic section of most grocery stores across North America.

To make Greek coffee you will need:

  • Cold Water (1 demitasse cup per person)
  • Sugar (For medium sweetness use 1 teaspoon per cup, but you can adjust this according to your own preference)
  • Greek coffee (1 teaspoon per cup)
  • A small pot (briki)

Use the demitasse cup to measure out 1 cup of water per person and pour the water in your pot. Once the water is hot but before it begins to boil, add the sugar and then the coffee. For medium sweetness use 1 teaspoon of sugar for each cup you are making. If you would like it sweeter, add 2 teaspoons of sugar for each cup, but if you prefer your coffee bitter then don’t add any sugar at all. For the coffee you will use 1 teaspoon of coffee for each cup you are making. Stir to dissolve the coffee and sugar, but do not stir again. Turn your stove to medium-low heat and wait for the coffee to begin to bubble. As the water begins to boil, the foam will rise to the top. As Eva explains in the video this foam is called kaïmaki in Greek. Once the coffee has begun to foam, it’s ready. Place 1 teaspoon of foam in each cup (this way everyone’s coffee gets a bit of the delicious foam) and then pour the rest of the coffee in the cups. The coffee is now ready to serve. Be sure to give of your guests a tall glass of cold water with the coffee!

If you’ve had the chance to visit Greece you might have see people turning their finished cups of coffee over onto the saucer and then having their fortune read to them, a practice known as tasseography. Let us know your experiences with this!