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Joy of Baking

Orange-cornmeal biscotti

(Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)
August 25, 2010

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Makes about 2 dozen

Cornmeal adds flavor, depth, and an intriguing texture to a cookie dough. It’s completely unexpected in a batch of crunchy biscotti. Orange rind and juice brighten the cookie’s character and play nicely against the walnuts. Smooth the soft dough into two long logs on a baking sheet; the shape does not have to be exact. Like all biscotti, you have to bake the logs, cool them slightly, then cut them on the diagonal, and bake the slices until the sides are firm. Nestle the cookies on a platter and you have a beautiful homemade nibble for guests.

2 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs plus 1 extra yolk
2 tablespoons grated orange rind
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Extra sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cornmeal until blended.

3. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and oil for 2 minutes. Add the 1 cup sugar and continue beating for 1 minute. Blend in the eggs, extra yolk, orange rind, and orange juice.

4. With the mixer set on low speed, blend in the cornmeal mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. With a spoon, stir in the walnuts. The batter will be thick.

5. Spoon half the batter in a 9-by-3 1/2-inch log on one short side of the baking sheet. Leaving about 5 inches in the middle, spoon the remaining batter on the other side. Sprinkle extra sugar on top.

6. Bake the logs for 30 minutes, or until set and a wooden pick inserted in the center is clean when withdrawn.

7. Remove the logs from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

8. Slide the parchment holding the logs onto a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes. Slide a large metal spatula under each log and carefully transfer the whole log to a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to cut each log on the diagonal into 12 to 14 slices 1/2 inch thick. Arrange the slices cut sides down on the baking sheet.

9. Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, turning halfway through baking, or until firm. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight tin.

Lisa Yockelson