Although the weather in Chicago put up a good fight, it is finally, inarguably summer. And a long stretch of hot weather means it's time to break out the light, tropical flavors: citrus! macadamia nuts! Are you with me? Bikini season be damned.
But it turns out that it can be made light and refreshing by using a vanilla base spiked with lime juice and zest, and studding the dough with creamy macadamia nuts that remind you of being on some tropical island somewhere under a macadamia tree. With coffee. Of course.
Speaking of coffee, I think a lot of people assume biscotti has to be teeth-shatteringly crisp, and cannot be eaten without being dunked into coffee or tea to soften it. I disagree. They should definitely be sturdy, but you should not have to have your dentist on speed dial before you bite down. The trick to the perfect biscotti texture is to make them soft enough to bite into without dunking them, but hearty enough to not disintegrate if you do choose to dunk them.
The trick is to bake it until the outside is crisp, but the inside remains slightly moist. You do that by first baking just enough to hold up to slicing, and then baking each slice individually to create a crust on each cookie. On the first bake, all of the batter is formed into a single log, the thickness of which slows the cooking process from penetrating all the way to the center. The result is that the dough emerges from the first bake solid and crisp on the outside, but still soft and slightly pliable on the inside. Then comes the crucial second bake. You'll have to slice the log into, well, biscotti shapes, and then pop them back into the oven to crisp again. This creates the crust on each individual cookie, and dries out the inside enough to crisp it up.
Two bakes, one perfect (non-teeth-shattering) biscotti. Easy as pie, you say? Nope, easy as biscotti.
Lime and Macadamia Nut BiscottiFrom Buttercream Fanatic (2013)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Juice + zest of 2 limes (approx. 2 Tablespoons zest + 3 Tablespoons juice)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup white chocolate (for drizzle; optional but highly recommended)
Preheat the oven to 325F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking pad. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then incorporate lime juice, zest, and vanilla. Add baking powder and salt, mix for about 10 seconds, then add the flour and slowly mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Fold in macadamia nuts.
Turn dough onto the cookie sheet and shape into long log. Flatten slightly. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden and the log is firm to the touch, but soft when pressed gently.
Remove from the oven, allow to settle for about 10 minutes, during which time you should increase the oven temperature to 350F. Firmly and carefully slice the log on the bias using a sawing motion and lay the slices on the broad side about an inch apart on the cookie sheet.
Return to oven (which should now be preheated to 350F) for about 25 minutes. The cookies may still be a bit softer than you think they should be; that's ok. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes, during which will will continue to crisp up. Transfer to baking rack.
For drizzle: Melt the chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute. Stir with a fork until chocolate is completely smooth and melted. Use a teaspoon to quickly flick chocolate across each cooled cookie in a zig-zag pattern. Allow chocolate to dry completely before serving or storing cookies.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
If you like citrus, you should definitely try my zesty Spring Blondies
And it would be an absolute crime to miss this Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Zest and Lemon Curd