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Quaresimale (Miniature Hazelnut Biscotti)



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~ Robert Fulghum

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 Cinnamon Connection
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(Miniature Hazelnut Biscotti)

Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes from Around the World
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 cinnamon-nut biscotti
that are traditional for Lent, and longer still to pry it from Venerio’s, a pastry
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 that
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 parchment
or wax paper; generously butter the paper. Scatter the hazelnuts over
another baking sheet and toast until medium-dark, usually 12 to 15
minutes. Cool slightly; wrap in a kitchen towel and rub off most of
the skins.
2. Place the nuts in a large bowl. With an electric mixer at low speed,
slowly 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 into 4
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
minutes. While still warm, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices using a
large chef’s knife and cutting with a firm downward motion. Cool com-
pletely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Note: Pure cinnamon oil can be ordered from JR Mushrooms and Specialties.
Do not substitute artificial cinnamon oil.

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