Saturday, December 22, 2012

Biscotti (Unscotti)

A family recipe that is a gift itself.

So we finally get to this recipe. It is the the second recipe that inspired my blog name. My original thought, as you can read in my About section, was to name my blog after my two grandmothers. This is my Gram H's  recipe- biscotti. My Gram used to make these anise flavored Biscotti during the holidays. The recipe is her mother's, my great grandmother's or my Noni's. This recipe is of Northern Italian roots. My ancestors are originally from Valle De Aosta which is in Northern Italy near France. My great Grandfather was born there and moved here in his 20s. He married a local Italian woman who was first generation and the began their family. Together they had 5 children, my Gram being the eldest.  In many ways for them, life was very hard but they kept their Italian heritage alive through family stories and baking familiar recipes like this one. This is one of the cookies that my Gram saw her mother make, my mother saw my Gram make, I saw my mother make and now I make yearly to remember them all. It is a family favorite and a taste that is truely unique. It is also my sister's favorite cookie so I make sure every year that she has a special container under the tree.

Della Valle Biscotti

In Italian, the term biscotti means twice baked. As a family we have always called this cookie "Biscotti." I have questioned that name for sometime since these cookies are only cooked one time. Typically, that would be called a Unscotti. I am unsure if the recipe has been changed from it's original format but this is the recipe as I know it. I have added more specific instructions because the recipe I received was very basic as a lot of old recipes are. In most cases, the instructions were learned from mother's and grandmother's and not written. This recipe is typically flavored with anise but it can also be flavored with vanilla or almond or any flavor that you choose.

3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. anise extract ( or vanilla or almond)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp whole milk

Beat the eggs until fluffy and yellow in color. Slowly add the sugar until and whip until thick and creamy.
My tip: whip until the egg/sugar mixture is lemon yellow and foamy. The cookie will be lighter and more airy.

Add the anise and the oil.
Sift together baking powder and flour. Gradually add this dry mixture to the wet ingredients.  Form 2 balls of dough. Roll out into 1 inch think ropes on a well floured board. .

Roll out like a Play-Doh snake! And cut into  diagonals.

Cut into one to one and a half inch long pieces. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake on 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottom. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack till cool.

 After cool, mix the powdered sugar and mild until smooth. Add coloring if you would like. Dip each cookie into the confectioner's sugar icing. Place on drying rack and decorate as needed. I like to sprinkle with holiday appropriate sprinkles.  Allow to dry for at least one hour. Serve immediately or freeze until needed.

Biscotti with the vintage tree that my Grandma C painted.

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