Excellent served with coffee or as a snack alone, this charming twice-baked cookie is a variation on the classic crispy biscotti, but flavored with the delicate essence of honey and orange. Although the honey marries beautifully with other flavors, it is still the most profound taste, so be sure to choose a high quality honey. Any nut can be used (even the traditional pine nut), but we’re partial to how wonderfully pistachios complement the honey in this combination.
Makes about 48 pieces
¼ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon orange flower water
2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated orange zest, minced
¾ cup shelled pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream the butter until light and creamy. Beat in sugar and honey until smooth, then add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and orange flower water and mix to thoroughly combine. Mix dry ingredients into the wet just until mixed. The dough should be stiff at this point. Stir in the orange zest and pistachios.
Divide dough in half. On a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper, shape each half into a 12×3-inch log. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and transfer logs to a cutting board.
Reduce oven to 325F. While still warm, Use a long serrated knife to cut each log diagonally into ½-inch strips. If logs become cool and begin to crack when cut, rewarm in the oven for about 30 seconds until soft enough to slice easily. Arrange the cut strips back on the baking sheet and bake for another 20 minutes, until dry, crisp and lightly colored. Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire racks, then store in an airtight container.
[Chef’s Note: If you do not have access to orange flower water, feel free to substitute orange extract or use all vanilla extract. Biscotti will continue to crisp as they cool after the second baking, so be careful not to over bake. These cookies will keep for a few weeks stored in an airtight container; they also freeze nicely in an airtight plastic bag for a few months.]
Recipe and photo by Monica Glass