Recipe of the Week: Italian Olive Oil S Biscotti
One of the most loved holiday traditions in our family is baking together batches and batches of cookies to be shared with family and friends. This tradition was started by my Nonna Maria, my mom’s mother. Being a war widow with limited income and eight children and 27 grandchildren, she started baking cookies for each family as her Christmas gift for as long as I can remember. Living closed to her I was the chosen helper and I loved spending this special time with her. She looked so magical in her long white apron that matched her hair as she created each batch of cookies with so much love and purpose. Today as adults and children gather around my kitchen island, the excitement mounts as ingredients are gathered and measured following her old family recipes. Soon the sweet aroma of cinnamon and vanilla fills the air as children prepare to dip, spread and sprinkle the decorations, making each cookie a unique work of art. This holiday season as the family enjoys our Christmas cookies, we can’t help but to think of this great lady. Merry Christmas Nonna! Makes about 48 cookies. (Chef tip: Take care not to over mix the dough or the cookies will be tough. The dough should be soft but stiff enough that it does not stick to your hands.)
4 1/2 cups 00 Italian or All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese
2 lemons, zest only
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two 13-by-18 inch baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the four eggs, sugar, ricotta cheese, vanilla paste, olive oil and lemon zest. Mix on medium speed until all the ingredients are combined.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time and mix on medium speed until you have a soft dough. Take care not to over mix the dough or the cookies will be tough. The dough should be soft but stiff enough that it does not stick to your hands.
Place the dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Remove and place onto a clean and lightly floured surface. Work the dough lightly until it comes together and it is smooth. Working with two tablespoons of dough at a time, roll out the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rope. Roll each rope in powdered sugar. Cut into 3-4 inch-long pieces and shape into an S and place on the parchment lined baking sheet about one inch apart. Gently press each cookie to flatten them slightly.
In a small bowl beat the egg with one teaspoon of milk to make egg wash. Brush each cookie with the prepared egg wash.
Bake for 15-20 minutes in the middle of the oven or until the cookies are golden brown.
Dust with powder sugar or sugar glaze before serving.