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(Miniature Hazelnut Biscotti)
Classic Home Desserts:
A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary
Recipes from Around the World
Copyright © 1994 by Richard Sax (Chapters Publishing Ltd.)
“It took me month to track down this recipe for the
that are traditional for Lent, and longer still to pry it from Venerio’s, a
shop/café in New York City. Finally, baker Joe Fighera shoes me how to make
these cookies that are ‘crisp like glass.’
The only trick is that the recipe requires several hard-to-get ingredients:
pastry flour, pure cinnamon oil and ammonium carbonate, an old-time leavener
makes cookies incredibly crisp. It’s the cinnamon oil that gives these biscotti
their distinctive ‘red hots’ cinnamon taste – a hot cinnamony flavor that’s very
different from that of ground cinnamon.
Over the years, when I haven’t had these special ingredients on hand, I’ve
gradually worked out this tasty version of the same quaresimale biscuits,
made with ordinary ingredients.”
Makes about 6 dozen biscotti
1 pound (about 3 1/2 cups) whole hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 slightly rounded cups all-purpose or pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 drops pure cinnamon oil (optional; see note)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons egg whites (4-5 large egg whites)
1 large egg, beaten, for glaze
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with
or wax paper; generously butter the paper. Scatter the hazelnuts over
another baking sheet and toast until medium-dark, usually 12 to 15
slightly; wrap in a kitchen towel and rub off most of
2. Place the nuts in a large bowl. With an electric mixer at low speed,
beat in the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder;
the nuts will
get beaten up a bit, that’s OK. Add the butter and
optional cinnamon oil
and mix until blended. Add the egg whites
and mix until dough is very
slightly sticky when squeezed between
two fingers; add a little more egg
white or a spoonful of flour, if
needed, to adjust consistency.
3. With palms lightly moistened with cold water, divide the dough
parts. Shape each piece of dough into a long rope that’s about 3/4 inch
in diameter. Place 2 ropes on each prepared baking sheet, spacing them
well apart. Lightly brush the logs with the egg glaze.
4. Bake until the ropes are medium gold and fairly firm, about 20 minutes.
5. Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack and let cool for about 5
While still warm, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices using a
knife and cutting with a firm downward motion. Cool com-
pletely on a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.
Pure cinnamon oil can be ordered from
Mushrooms and Specialties.
Do not substitute artificial cinnamon oil.
Spiced Almond Biscotti
Chocolate Chip and Almond Biscotti (Maida Heatter)
Tuscan Rosemary and Pine Nut Bars
Index - Cookie Recipe Archives
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