Dolce Italiano: Mosaic Biscotti

Clarification: Comments will be accepted as contest entries on any/all 10 Dolce Italiano posts through Friday, December 7th (11:59p.m. Pacific Standard Time).

Dolce Italiano cover I’m joining fellow bloggers and Italy lovers Ilva from Lucullian Delights, Michelle from Bleeding Espresso, Shelley from At Home in Rome and Jenn from the Leftover Queen to highlight recipes from Gina DePalma’s cookbook Dolce Italiano. Read Shelley’s contest preview for more information about the contest.

Every weekday for two weeks, one of the five bloggers will be highlighting a recipe from the cookbook and we’ll be bringing you a great opportunity: win a personalized and signed copy of Gina’s book! All you need to do to be entered is comment on this post and other Dolce Italiano posts! You can comment on each post, giving you 10 chances to enter!

As executive pastry chef at Mario Batali’s NYC restaurant Babbo, Gina hardly needs an introduction. But if you’d like more information about Gina DePalma, read parts 1, 2, and 3 of Shelley’s interview with Gina. It’s insightful!

I have the extreme pleasure of showcasing the first recipe from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano.

Being so far from a bookstore stocked with English cookbooks, I really have to make a connection with an author or a cookbook/recipe online to seek out the cookbook. Gina hooked me from the first paragraph of her introduction (all I can say is: lemon, but I’ll get to that later) and I felt not only a kinship with her as an Italian-American, but also with her desire to become an expat in Italy. Gina lets you into her pastry world, with a great introduction to the pastry kitchen’s equipment, and a wonderful focus on Italian and Italian ingredients which is really important for anyone who wants to cook with Italian ingredients in or out of Italy. Helpful hints and side stories are sprinkled throughout the cookbook, and I especially enjoyed the “Celebrations” section where some of Italy’s traditional holiday desserts shine.

Gina’s first lesson as a future expat was unfortunately a hard one. When we started organizing this, we had hoped to exclusively preview the cookbook online the week it was released. And we waited.

And the release date passed. And still we waited for the books to arrive. And we could only shake our heads, shrug our shoulders and say, Le Poste Italiane. Adjusting to the postal system in a new country is just one of the hurdles of living here. Gina, unfortunately, soon you’ll understand.

I also think Mosaic Biscotti are a perfect recipe for adapting to a new country – they are delicious and leave room for a little imagination and creativity, and next time I’m considering putting in some dried cranberries I’ve been hoarding. I also found that they go really well with my homemade basil liquor.

Mosaic Biscotti

adapted from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano. Below is the original recipe. Immediately following the ingredients, I included my notes on how I modified the recipe.

Mosaic Biscotti from Gina DePalma's Dolce Italiano

3 1/2c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1t. baking powder
1t. kosher salt
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks, plus 1 egg white for the glaze
2c. granulated sugar, plus 1 1/2T. for the glaze
2 t. pure vanilla extract
12oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2c. skinned or unskinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
2c. whole, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Recipe notes:
I halved this recipe (1 3/4c. flour, etc.) for practical reasons since in the cookbook she says to use two baking trays simultaneously and I don’t have two available. It worked perfectly! I also substituted almonds for the hazelnuts and used 75% extra dark chocolate. She also recommends using a serrated knife to cut them, but I used my supersharp Santoku knife so as not to saw and smear the chocolate on the slices. The following directions were for my half batch. If using the original recipe, you will divide the dough onto two baking sheets and bake simultaneously.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F (160C) and grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside. In another bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together for about 2 minutes with an electric mixer.
  2. Add the vanilla extract, continue beating and add in the dry ingredients and then the chocolate and nuts. At this point I mixed with a wooden spoon until all ingredients were thoroughly mixed.
  3. Form two logs of dough on each baking sheet (note: if you are making the full recipe, Gina recommends making 5 logs on two different baking sheets and baking simultaneously – if you have halved the recipe, you’ll only need 1 sheet – 2 logs). Beat the remaining egg white(s) and brush on logs. In absence of a pastry brush, I found my hands to be a good substitute. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  4. Bake until lightly golden brown and firm to the touch, about 20-25 minutes. Cool the logs on the baking sheets (but remove or turn them on the parchment paper so all the moisture isn’t trapped underneath) for about 40 minutes.
  5. Turn oven back to 200F (90C). With a very sharp knife (or serrated) slice the logs on a slight diagonal into 1/4″ wide slices. Lay on the baking sheet in a single layer and cook for 20 minutes or more, until toasted and crisp. Cool completely before storing in airtight containers

So, comment away to be entered in the contest, and check Ilva from Lucullian Delights‘s post tomorrow for another great recipe and another chance to win!

Pistacchi ready for Mosaic Biscotti

Disclaimer: While I did receive a free copy of this cookbook, we bloggers were the ones who propositioned Gina for permission to get a sneak peek at the cookbook and organize the contest.

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Comments

  1. says

    Sara, finally we’re doing it! But I wouldn’t blame the Italian postal system as much as the American which obviously decided to send the books via New Zealand for some unknown reason… Love the photo, it’s fabulous!

  2. Kristin says

    Gorgeous biscotti! That solves what to give my boyfriend’s parents, who have everything. The NYT had a recipe last week from this book for cranberry tart in a polenta crust, also very tempting.

  3. babycakes says

    thank you so much for posting the recipe !!! it sounds delectable & the pisture is just beautiful. I’ll probably halve the recipe too.

  4. SWT says

    Thanks for the recipe and for sharing your tips and modifications. I’ll be cutting the recipe in half too!
    Can you find a good Santoku knife here in Italy?

  5. Rosa says

    My Mum makes similar biscotti, perfect for dunking in coffee. They last for ages in an airtight container and are worthwhile making ,even in large batches. I will definitely be trying your version!

  6. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @Everyone – keep the comments coming! I took these to work and they were gone in a flash…make the full recipe if you can!!

  7. cbright67 says

    I love this idea–che furbo! As for the biscotti, the beautiful green of the pistacchios is so festive that I might just have to make these for Christmas gifts.

  8. says

    That looks fabulous! I’m ashamed to say that I’m probably the only Italian who has never tried my hand at baking biscotti. But this recipe looks too good to ignore. :-) I look forward to adding it to my collection.

    Christina

  9. Beth says

    Are Gina’s recipes developed for the US market?
    If so, and you are using 00 flour here in Italy, you may have to adjust the measurements–but it seems you had no problem! I love the cranberry idea with the pistachios–Christmasy colors. And who can go wrong with chocolate?

  10. says

    Yummy! Your liquor looks delicious. Your photo is heavenly.
    I think I prefer almonds, good idea, over the hazlenuts. Looking forward to trying this.

  11. says

    Thanks for the great kickoff! Very exciting that we’ve FINALLY gotten our hands on these books and into the kitchen…

    I love how the green of your basilcello matches the green of the pistacchi. I think the cranberries would be a great idea and I agree with the other commenters who mentioned what a great Christmas cookie it would make.

  12. Shelley Somerville says

    They look wonderful and I will be adding these to my christmas baking list..Thanks! What did you think of them..were they a hit?

  13. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @Barbara – pistachios are pistacchi in Italian! :)
    @SWT – I brought my Santoku knife with me but they have all the major brands in Italy.
    @Beth – I think they are for the US market, but I didn’t see a problem with the flour- she didn’t specify cake flour in the recipe.
    @Mandy – Your version looks good, too! Maybe finally you’ll have a copy of the book! :)
    @jess – It’s my basil liquor – the link is in the post (above the picture).
    @Shelley Somerville – they were gone in about 1 hour at work. Big hit.

  14. says

    Those are similar to a recipe of my grandmother’s. Now that the weather is cold and I’m in the mood to bake, I’ll have to try these. :-)

  15. Lori says

    A perfect marriage of some of my favorite ingredients, and a wonderful holiday gift-food as well. I love the cookbook already!

  16. Francesca says

    I know of a Biscotti recipe with cofee in it! Just enough flavor, but good for non-coffee drinkers. Dip in Vin Santo too – yum!!!!
    Great contest idea, thanks for participating!

  17. Leesa says

    Ooh, these look WONderful! Anything that has pistachios in it generally has me from ‘hello’. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!

  18. says

    Wow, really beautiful and extra-festive. I agree with everyone else who has said these would be very nice for gifting, along with a little tin of tea, or a small bag of fancy coffee beans.

  19. says

    This looks SO good. First of all, I love pistachios and second of all, I heart biscotti! I have been thinking of buying this book, but lets wait a little, maybe I get lucky…
    :))

  20. says

    Ok, my fellow Italy residents — where can I get pistachios without salt? I am having a diavolo of a time finding them.

    My signed copy is sitting on the shelf in my kitchen already. I am following the blogs for fun, and for my friend Gina with whom my cooking adventures are just beginning….

  21. Lucy says

    My sister can make biscotti, I’ve never tried…but they look absolutely delicious! Love love love Italian desserts and cookies!

  22. says

    Pick me, pick me for the cookbook!! That biscotti looks so yummy, I can practically taste it! Unfortunately, after a week of Thanksgiving indulgence, I have to scale back on the refined carbs :(

  23. says

    I was in Italy in June/July this year (I’m from Australia) and have very fond memories of biscotti, cantucci, brutti e buoni, pastries, tortas, chocolate, gelato *sigh* ……Luckily I run marathons! I will be giving this recipe a try – it sounds delicious.

  24. says

    Wow, I couldn’t really think of any biscuits I would rather have. Biscotti and pistachios are both all time favourites. I love the picture as well. This is a great idea for a contest, and while I have not read Gina’s book, any book that inspires this type of cooking and drooling ahs got to be worth at least a look!

  25. says

    Absolutely gorgeous photo and YUMMY recipe!
    I love biscotti. I made a biscotti recipe once and it was easier then I had thought it would be. YOURS looks especially delicious. I am going to have to give it a try!

  26. Linda says

    Thank you for taking the time to put the contest together. The basil liquer sounds very interesting, can’t wait to try it.

  27. Rebecca Raymond says

    Looks delicious! Also, nice touch with the basil liquor, very festive. I may have to try that recipe as well it.

  28. says

    Ye gods, there are some amount of comments to this post.

    Have to say this is the most upmarket biscotti recipe I have come across (in terms of steps involved in preparation) and I look forward to trying it.

    With the addition of the dried cranberries I can see this being a suitably colourful biscotti for the Christmas season.

  29. daniela says

    OH how I love to cook but OH how I fear baking the sweets…. i usually do not like my Nonna’s versions of these, but that picture is alluring…

  30. Anna L'americana says

    Yummo!….BUT – where do you get vanilla extract in Italy????? That was the biggest hurdle to baking when I lived there and my big disappointment in Italian dolci in general – they don’t use vanilla (except “zucchero vanigliato” which is the Italian version of powdered sugar which for some reason has vanilla added – go figure!) Has this changed? Now that I am stateside (and vanilla abounds!) I will definately have to make these, have never made biscotti before. I love Mario Batali and any chef he brings to his kitchen must have the right idea! (PS: Can I send you a stash of dried cranberries? I feel your pain)

  31. says

    What a wonderful recipe. I love all things Italian. I also love making biscotti. I can’t wait to try this recipe. And it will be a nice cookie for the cookie exchange I am attending in mid-December.

  32. Rachel says

    My dad is 100% Sicilian, and complains he hasn’t had good biscotti since he left New York. I have got to try thuis recipe for him this Christmas!

  33. Joe DiMeglio says

    I LOVE BISCOTTI ! My Nonna made the best but my sister is a close second. Oh, and Sara …. che bella! (sorry if that isn’t correct, my Italian is not so good)

  34. Lilian says

    Sara, the medley of green in your photograph is beautiful–and I’m delighted to have come across your blog (by way of Ilva’s). May I join your contest too? A comment on the biscotti: would the texture be compromised by halving the quantity of sugar?

  35. Anne says

    Hi have come over from Lucillian Delights…Love biscotti…brought some back from our trip to Italy…we spent 10 days on Lake Como, it was brilliant. Yours look delicious!!!

  36. says

    Beautiful biscotti! I love how the pistachios have retained their waxy greenness.

    I’ve just finished making Gina’s Venetian Apple Cake and I’m seriously impressed with it. Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope that I get the book for Christmas!

  37. lieludalis says

    Wow! These sound great. I like the substitution of almonds I think…so I’ll try it your way.
    As usual, beautiful photography. Love the shot with the basilcello!

  38. says

    Yum! Never tried pistachio biscotti – I’ll bet they’re awesome, especially with the bittersweet chocolate!

    That looks like a glass of absinth next to the biscotti! :)

  39. piccola says

    The biscotti looks great and the book sounds fantastic. However i would say the italian postal system is really “wonderful”. :D

  40. Gypsy says

    Would love to make the biscotti. I am in charge this year of the traditional Calabrian Christmas Eve dinner (got to get the 7 fishes, pasta, make the bread dough, etc.) Have to do the cookie tray. It’s tradition!

  41. says

    These look so beautiful and sound delicious. I’ve been meaning to try biscotti soon, so I might just have to make this recipe my first shot!

  42. says

    What a fun contest! I love biscotti, so I can not wait to try these. They are so pretty and would make a great Christmas gift. I look forward to making a batch! Happy Holidays!

  43. dtsweir says

    These would be great with the dried cranberries! Although they look delicious just the way they are.
    Happy Holidays!

  44. says

    The biscotti look incredible!!! Pistachios and hazelnuts would look so festive in biscotti for the holiday season! I have made biscotti in the past but was not happy with the recipes I have chosen. I will have to give this one a try for sure. The cookbooking sounds very special and even if I don’t win it I’ll have to add it to my evergrowing collection!

  45. mary susan payne says

    I baked the gorgeous biscotti yesterday and took them to my usual Saturday morning coffee gathering. Our group can be extremely critical, but this time raved. thanks for the great recipe.

  46. sharon says

    I am in love wit those beautiful cookies. This Friday night I am going to a traditional Italian supper at my in-laws. Can hardly wait. What a great feast and she is a fabulous cook. Your site is amazing and wonderful.

  47. Colleen in South Africa says

    These look amazing. Thanks for the recipe. I love pistachios and I will try these with dried cranberries as I love those as well.

  48. says

    oh…. I would be very happy to win Gina’s cookbook. Please add my name to the contest. Her recipes so far sound wonderful! I’ll be back to visit. I’m glad I found your site.

  49. says

    I have a sweet biscotti from a 30 years back friend. Last year I found a savory biscotti that I want to make again this season.
    But this must be the new sweet one added to the collection. Love the colors and the terrific flavors running around in this one.
    Lovely!!

  50. cheryl says

    The biscotti look great! I am anxious to try both the liquor and biscotti recipes.
    Great blog by the way! I have just begun reading it.

  51. Ariana from Chicago says

    Sara, I love your website and read it religiously. I finally got around to trying this recipe, and had lots of issues. I searched the net and found a video of Gina making these, turns out there are quite a few key details missing from your instructions (like whisking the dry ingredients and how long to mix at each stage). The fact that you halved your recipe got me confused; I didn’t know until I watched Gina that I should have had 5 logs! In any case, my cookies were definitely off, not very pretty. But delicious enough that I am going back to the store tomorrow for more ingredients to try again. Just wanted to let you know you might want to revisit this recipe and add all the missing details from the book. Thanks!

  52. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @Ariana, I’m sorry it didn’t go well for you. I did write “sift” in my directions for the dry ingredients – that should be akin to whisking or better :) My notes about the recipe weren’t clear you’ll have two sheets of logs, I guess – I’ll add something. This recipe isn’t very sensitive to mixing time, so I’d be curious to see what happened to your biscotti. Glad you’re trying again!

  53. Ariana from Chicago says

    Thanks for your response, if you compare the recipes side by side, you will note the need to whisk dry ingredients (to fully incorporate the baking powder), the sizes of the logs, and also how to shape the logs (Gina shows the rolling process and squeezing the ends – a big “aha” moment for me!). By only having 2 big logs instead of 5, my 1st bake time was insufficient, the cookies were underbaked, and unfortunately not corrected during the second bake. No worries, we are snacking on these “ugly” ones at home and making a second batch for xmas day! Buon Natale!

  54. Patty R. says

    I’ve made lots of biscotti in my time, but these look especially good. I’ll be trying YOUR version this week, maybe they’ll make my Christmas cookies list. Just discovered your blog it looks soooo interesting, I’ll be visiting often.
    Patty

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