Monday, December 15, 2014

Wine Biscotti

These are my favorite cookie because they are not too sweet, and perfect with a cup of hot English tea. Sadly I get migraines from drinking wine but I love to cook with it!

I first found this recipe in my favorite cookbook We Called it Macaroni by Nancy Verde Barr, published by Alfred Knopf. The recipe has also appeared in Gourmet magazine.

In a large bowl combine the 4 cups of the flour, the sugar, the salt, and the baking powder and make a well in the center. Pour in the oil and the wine, combine the mixture, incorporating the flour mixture gradually, until it forms a soft dough, and knead in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour to keep the dough from sticking. Divide the dough into 40 pieces, roll each piece into a 5-inch rope, curl the ends and form them into hearts. Bake the hearts slightly apart on baking sheets in preheated 350F oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300F and bake the biscuits for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden. Let the biscuits cool on racks and store them in airtight containers. Makes 40 biscotti.

The flavor blooms and develops over the week.

I make these with cheap port, Marsala, or any strong, sweet red wine left at our house.

I like to use corn oil in the recipe, and whole wheat flour. I shape the cookies into hearts or pretzel shapes.

Sometimes rather than shape the dough into ropes I flatten the dough with my rolling pin and, since the dough is very crumbly, I also press down on the dough with my hands. Then I use a small scalloped-shaped cookie cutter to shape the cookies. I transfer them to cast iron skillets and bake them. The heavy iron pans serve as baking stones, regulating the heat.

4½ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt (more if using whole wheat flour)
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 cup corn oil
1 cup full-bodied red wine or port or Marsala wine