Over the holidays, I stumbled on Smitten Kitchen’s superb Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti. These rich, double-baked cheesy biscuits quickly became a holiday cocktail staple.
Naturally I wanted to serve the Biscotti to my food-loving son the day he came home from college for winter break. The recipe is so simple, I left preparation until the last minute. So when I swung open the refrigerator door, you can imagine my panic on seeing a tiny crumpled butter wrapper containing a tablespoon or so of butter.
Smitten Kitchen’s divine Biscotti call for a full stick and a half of butter.
Oh, pooh. (Actually, I said another word.)
My heart was set on Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti. It was too late to run to the store. Then my eye fell on a quart of extra virgin olive oil sitting on the kitchen shelf.
The long and short: Not only were the results not a disaster, my good friend Michele—an excellent cook with a discerning palate—tasted both butter and olive oil versions and prefers the latter.
This recipe makes a lot of Biscotti. I usually bake half the dough into biscuits for immediate use, then roll the remaining dough into logs, wrap in wax paper and freeze them.
I feel so together when I can pull off tasty appetizers at the drop of a hat.
Olive Oil and Black Pepper Parmesan Biscotti
1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, finely grated
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
- Place oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a coffee or spice grinder—or mortar and pestle—coarsely grind the pepper corns.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups of cheese, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper.
- In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, blend the oil, 3 eggs and milk.
- Add the oil/milk/eggs to the flour mixture, stirring with a whisk or fork to make a soft dough.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into quarters—about 1 1/3 cup each.
- Flour your hands and shape each quarter into a 12” log. At this point you may wrap the logs in wax paper, place in an air-tight container and store in fridge or freezer.
- When ready to bake, thaw or bring dough to room temperature. Flatten the logs slightly to create a long log about 2” wide and 3/4” high.
- Place logs 3” apart on 2 ungreased baking sheets.
- Beat the remaining egg and brush it over the logs.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 tablespoon crushed black pepper and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the logs.
- Bake the logs, switching sheet position half way through baking. Bake until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total.
- Remove sheets from oven. Cool logs on sheets for about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
- Carefully transfer a log to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs into diagonal ½” slices.
- Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs.
- Bake Biscotti, turning slices over once midway through baking, until they are crisp and golden on both sides, 35-45 minutes total.
- Cool Biscotti on sheets on racks until cool enough to handle—about 10 minutes—and serve.
Biscotti may be kept in an air-tight container at room temperature up to two weeks.
Makes about 5-6 dozen Biscotti.