Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti with Lavender

Spring is right around the corner, so close I can feel it in the air and see it in the budding greenery on trees and shrubs. Today Spring flowers perfumed the air in my kitchen, early sentinels of the coming longer days and good weather. A pitcher filled with sunny daffodils prompted me to bake something equally sunny and Springlike. Lemon zest brought a citrusy note to the dough, while fresh lavender buds added their distinctive tang to the batter. I threw in some pistachios for crunch and the stage was set for a tasty batch of biscotti. 

I worked with a new recipe and found the soft, wet dough challenging to shape. The loaves spread oozed sideways before I could get them into the preheated oven, resulting in long, flat cookie batons. Add more flour? No, because the resulting biscotti had a good texture, firm to the tooth but not overly hard and crunchy. Chill the dough before shaping? Perhaps worth a try, or I could just relax and settle for long, flat biscotti. They were crisp, tasty, and a total treat with a cup of tea or coffee. 

I love the subtle taste of dried lavender in cookies (link), and decided to give minced, fresh flower buds a try. The flavor was a bit stronger than with dried flowers, a little harsh on day one but it did mellow out by the following day. RL doesn't care much for culinary lavender, but he had no trouble eating these biscotti, one after another, without complaint. 

Photo: long narrow loaves morph into wide, flat loaves

Photo: slices ready for the second bake show less-baked centers

Photo: lemon pistachio biscotti cool on baking racks

Lemon Biscotti with Pistachios and Lavender

Yields approx. 2 1/2 to 3 dozen

1 1/4 rounded cups sugar

3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
zest of 1 large lemon
2 rounded cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pistachios, rough chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lavender buds, minced (optional)
Optional topping of egg white wash and sugar granules

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a rimmed cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper. 
  2. Mix first 5 ingredients, sugar through lemon zest, in a stand mixer until thoroughly combined.
  3. Use a second bowl to combine the flour, baking soda and salt; mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar mix in several small batches; use low speed and mix until combined. Add the pistachios and lavender and fold in gently with a spatula.
  5. Divide the dough and spread into two long, thin loaves on the prepared cookie sheet. The dough will be soft and sticky so you may need to add flour to your hands to work with it. (Oh my, is it ever sticky!)
  6. Optional: brush the top of each loaf with thinned egg white wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes.
  8. When slightly cooled, transfer to a cutting board and cut each loaf on the diagonal with a serrated knife into 3/4-inch slices. Return to the cookie sheet, cut side down, leaving space between each slice, and bake again at 350 F for an additional 10 minutes. You may need to do this in 2 batches. 

If you have a sweet tooth, drizzle the biscotti with a lemony powdered sugar glaze. 

1 comment:

  1. Lavender gives such a special flavor to everywhere is put and pistachios must have made these biscotti crunchy and irresistible!


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