May 16, 2009

BISCOTTI can be ugly but good

A biscuit is a small baked morsel of love. The exact meaning varies markedly in different parts of the world. In the United States and Canada, a cookie is what the same small, flat-baked treat is called. It is usually round, containing milk, flour, eggs, and sugar, etc. In most English-speaking countries outside North America, the most common word for this is biscuit. In many regions both terms are used, while in others the two words have different meanings – a cookie is a plain bun in Scotland, while in the United States a biscuit is a kind of quick bread similar to a scone.
The origin of the English word "biscuit" is from Latin via Middle French and means "cooked twice," hence bis-cotti in Italian. Whatever their name, origin or exact meaning and shape, biscotti rock. Some harder than others.




Brutti ma Buoni
The term Brutti ma Buoni means 'ugly but good,' and is quite apt, because these traditional drop cookies don’t look too attractive, but vanish off the serving plate in minutes. They take a little effort to make, but are well worth it.
  • 250 gr (1 1/4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) blanched peeled, and toasted almonds
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) toasted hazelnuts, shelled
  • 6 egg whites
  • A healthy pinch of powdered cloves and powdered cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of vanillin or a few drops vanilla extract
Grind the nuts to a powder, ideally using a mortar and pestle (the toasting of the nuts makes this operation much more successful). If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, either chop the nuts very finely by hand, or pulse them to a powder in your blender.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and carefully fold in the nuts, sugar, spices, and vanilla.
Turn the batter into a saucepan and heat it, stirring gently, over a low flame until it thickens and just becomes golden in color; this will take about a half hour.

While doing this, preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F) and butter a cookie sheet.
Take the thickened batter, and drop it, less than a tablespoon (about half a walnuts' worth) at a time, onto the cookie sheet, leaving some space between drops. Bake the Ugly but Good for about 40 minutes. Let them cool thoroughly and enjoy with a glass of robust red wine and a good book.

Image © Foto e Fornelli

crunch...

18 comments:

  1. Lola
    they look so good and crunchy...yum
    Happy Days

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  2. biscotti rock. Some harder than others. - rolf!

    ugly but good - lol, there is hope for us all

    love a good biscotti with my coffee ocassionally. my friend Bryan over @ the Muse in Lynchburg does it right!

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  3. So many yummy recipes Lola! Thanks!

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  4. Cookies, biscuits and biscotti- whatever the name and flavors- I love them all.

    Your recipe looks great.

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  5. Delwyn - Thank you, darling friend. Happy days to you too.

    Brian - espresso and crunch: a diabolically delicious duo

    Saretta - Grazie, bella!

    Blackbird - Thank you for stopping by for a nibble.

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  6. Sometimes it's good to be late! I missed your last couple of posts, Lola, but oh, oh - what heaven was awaiting me! Prosciutto and sweet ripe figs on just baked Pizza bianca, the unctuousness of creamy soft frico and the dainty crunch of the brittle frico. Then the finale of ugly-but-good little biscotti to round it all off in the most delightful way. Oh, I’m swooning from such pleasures!

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  7. Biscotti, buonissimi, ma cerco di evitare. Delicious, but I try to do without. If cakes grab me I'm finished. Not because of diabetes, no, because of my insane passion for THEM.

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  8. oh...tempting indeed. I've cut out the sugar for now...when I am again eating it I'll certainly look for this recipe!

    Breeze

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  9. I'll figure out how to take a bite and enjoy the fabolous taste without feeling guilty.

    This is a very easy recipe, btw.

    Grazie, cara.

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  10. Hi Lola
    Great to learn about biscuits and cookies etc. - you'll make a cook out of me yet - but you'll have to be patient because I have two 'left spoons' in the kitchen I am sorry to say. I can cook baked beans on toast and can boil an egg so I will never starve and I can always catch a 'Marmite Toastie' when I need to. As you can see - it's difficult for me to switch off the humour button - but I am serious sometimes - honest!
    Lola, I thank you so very much for your very generous comments and I am honoured you signed up as a follower - as you can see I have signed up to you. So in Biblical terms we now have signed a covenant and can walk through the carcass of the slain animal together, and therefore we are now brother and sister so to speak. I thereby promise to make you laugh as much as possible from this moment on. Now, my dear, are you an Italian girl living in Rome? Or an American girl who speaks Italian living in Rome or an outsider from both countries who speaks Italian whilst writing in (American) English - I can tell you Americans can't spell the word 'colour' and other simple words which Shakespeare would use standing on his head!
    Nice to meet you Lola - our union is all your fault you know because you gate crashed your way into the Grand National - and I am glad you did - I wanted you to win really but we have only just met and I couldn't do such a thing on our first date - completely against my high principles. I will sign off now before this comment turns into a post. Glad you have a sense of humour - hope you have or I'm dead! I will wotk through some of your earlier posts when time permits, look forward to that. Ciao ~ Eddie x

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  11. Yummeeeee! Your photos are always so mouth watering too, Lola.

    Clever,clever,girl.xx♥

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  12. Hi Lola,
    A couple of hours after I read your recipe, I followed it to a T, with the exception of splenda instead of sugar, and was rewarded by wonderfully light bites of nutty biscottini.


    Without the sugar, these morsels are still good and nutritious too. Who knew? Grazie a te per la bella ricetta.

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  13. 40 minutes? Really? Must have a crunch. My cookies usually do only 8-10 minutes...if they make it out of the bowl and into the oven even.

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  14. what an interesting way to make the batter. I've never heard of the method of cooking it on the stove after beating the eggwhites. These sound simple, but adaptable and delicious.

    p.s. your new background IS wonderful, and congratulations on figuring it out yourself!

    SM

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  15. Thank you for your SWEET coments :)

    Tessa - Over the course of the week I posted a meal, essentially! Glad you enjoyed, darling.
    Breeze - Oh no! I'll be posting savoury next, so hang in there!
    Eddie - I'll be over at your place to answer questions and bringing you a welcome basket with explanatory past posts. Colour, neighbour, theatre, centre, favour, grey, etc. :)
    Natsy - I'm figuring out a way to post fragrances now...
    Rosaria - I'm so so happy you tried it and liked the result!!! Brava. Even with Type2 you can satisfy your sweet tooth. Ammirevole.
    Erin - I'm on a cookie-craving splurge these days, so I get you.
    Sallymandy - ugly, good AND easy! You noticed the backgound endeavor, knew you'd like it. Citrusy...

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  16. Most people would never have a biscuit or biscotti with wine but they do go together well. Even the humble Fig Newton comes to life with a berry flavoured red.
    This recipe is also good for people who are gluten intolerant I think. (not me thank goodness)
    Back to the grocery store for nuts.

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  17. Hi Lola

    Have a batch of these great looking biscuits in the oven right now. I tell you, stirring a meringue mixture on the hob for 30 minutes is a bit weird I can tell you.

    Regards the 30 minutes, does it have to be this long? Or is it just until the dough is golden and thick. I only have a nacked old electric hob and even on the lowest setting I think it cooks a bit quicker than a gas hob on lowest setting.

    I notice your photos are quite a bit lighter than mine, so maybe i didn't need to cook the dough as much. Once I took it off the hob, it started to get really thick as it cooled and was getting a bit tricky to spoon.

    Any road, this is only my first go, I only did a half-sized batch to test out the recipe, so will try again soon.

    many thanks for you lovely website.

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  18. Pieforbrains~
    Hi, and thank you for stopping by.
    As I've said on other occasions, each stove and burner is different, and mostly intensities change from country to country. My gas range is a little low (not the oven which bakes roast in 7 minutes!) so please take my timing indication with the proverbial pinch of salt. If the biscotti mix becomes gummy and golden, by all means take it off the flame and start spooning it!
    Ciao and thanks for commenting :)

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