It's really hard to work against expectations.
If I said "biscotti," you might think about the teeth-chipping, ridiculously hard cookies served at your local Starbucks. (No real offense to Starbucks--it has its place. In airports, primarily.) It's typically a long, slender cookie that takes a dunking in a hot beverage to become really good.
Or, even more menacingly, it is a cookie coated so liberally with chocolate that your fingers are smeared before it even approaches a hot beverage.
I'm not a fan of either option, but when you tell people you've made biscotti, they expect one of those two things. Whereas these biscotti will delight your senses--I've never smelled dough quite this fragrant, I kid you not--but they are round, a little soft and look nothing like what people have come to expect.
I'll stand by the authenticity of the consistency and shape of these cookies, which are adapted from a recipe by Lidia Bastianich. The flavors? They just happen to be what excited me on Sunday morning. A batch went to the neighbors who have been nice enough to lend us their snowblower these last few snowy weeks, and another batch came to my office, where no one knew what to make of them until they had one, at which point they were sold.
Orange-Toasted Pecan Biscotti
Technique from Lidia's Italy in America by Lidia Bastianich
1 large orange, zested and juiced
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until pale yellow. Turn the mixer to low and add the eggs individually, mixing well after each addition.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the slices on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake for eighteen to twenty minutes, switching out the cookie sheets halfway through. The cookies will be done when pale golden brown.
Makes approximately sixty cookies.