Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cornmeal Biscotti

Cornmeal Biscotti
Home Cooking

Some things, I plan to bake weeks beforehand, gathering ingredients and building anticipation. Others are a spur of the moment decision born from a train of thoughts that go something like this: "oh, that sounds good... hey, I actually have all those ingredients! I also have a couple spare hours".

That's how I came about making these cornmeal biscotti.  Cornmeal aka polenta is something that I can't deal with. I can't. I feel almost uncomfortable not having any in the house 'just in case' a recipe will call for it and it'll RUIN the recipe not including it. However, unfinished packets of polenta just bother me. I'll find ways to use it up until I'm all out... and then I'll buy a new packet.

Anyhow, I had a quantity of polenta sitting in my pantry that turned out to be the exact amount I needed for this recipe. Win!

This recipe is from David Lebovitz, and you can view the original here. I divided the recipe in half when I cooked it. In theory that is supposed to result in 30 pieces of biscotti but I ended up with about 20 so I suspect mine are too big or too thick? I'll run through my feedback at the end.

Cornmeal Biscotti
Makes 30

  • 3/4 cup (105g) plain flour
  • 1/4 cup (35g) cornmeal/polenta
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp (25g) melted butter
  • 1/2 cup (50g) walnutes, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line a cookie tray with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, sugar and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla extract.
4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture.
5. Add the melted butter and mix until the dough is wet and crumbly.
6. Add the walnuts and stir to get them mixed into the dough.
7. Turn the dough out onto a lighlty floured surface and knead a few times until smooth.
8. Roll the dough out into a long log about 33cm in length. Transfer it onto the baking tray.
9. Bake the log for about 20 minutes or until it feels set (it will spread out during cooking). Remove it from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 120 degrees Celsius.
10. Using a sharp bread knife, slice the log cross-wise into separate cookies about 1cm thick.
11. Place the biscotti onto a cookie tray flat (i.e. cut side down) and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the biscotti from the oven to turn them over and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes until golden in colour.
12. Let the cookies cool completely before serving. They can be stored in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.

 I had a few problems with this recipe. I don't think I baked my loaf thoroughly enough the first time so it still had doughy bits, which made it hard to cut and cook for the second bake. So make sure you cook it through. If it's cooked and cooled properly, I imagine it to be easier to cut.

I suspect my pieces were cut too thick, which is probably why I ended up with 20 pieces of biscotti instead of 30. Because of this, my second bake took a lot longer than suggested for the pieces to crisp up. This appears to be a perfect example of how one mistake can snowball through. Once again I reiterate: cook your loaf through properly on your first bake!

Finally, the biscotti were too sweet for my liking. I don't take blame for that because I put the recommended amount of sugar in. I would repeat this with maybe half the amount of sugar. The lemon zest was lovely though. I'm really liking lemon zest in desserts. The corn flavor is mild but present. That's enough for me. I wouldn't want an overly corn-flavored biscotti. Why not buy some Doritos if that were the case.

The biscotti were a shade too crunchy and sweet to have on their own. When dunked in coffee though, they were just right. These are good for whipping out at afternoon tea and serving with your favorite hot beverage.


  1. Finally bought a portable oven today, can't live without baking ESP when uve been posting up delicious baking posts! Can't wait to try these :)

  2. Hi mochi...

    I have a lot of recipes coming that you'd be interested in (i.e. 'vegetably' using pumpkin, sweet potato and zucchini). For this one, I'd recommend reducing the sugar!