Recipes for Biscotti and Zaletti Italian Cookies

Patrick Mooney
Italian Cookies Recipes

In Italy, many a meal ends with fruit and sweet wine along with cookies and sweet biscuits, which are the usually created out of age old Italian cookie recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Whether you choose Biscotti to go with your tea or a polenta cookie to pair with your dessert wine, you will find that there is an Italian cookie to suit any mood or event.

Biscotti Recipe

Biscotti means twice baked and that is exactly how you make these cookies. Biscotti are usually served with coffee or tea, but it not unusual for biscotti to be accompanied by a glass of Vin Santo as well. When biscotti and Vin Santo are served together it is called "cantucci e Vin Santo."

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of hazelnuts roughly chopped, skinned if possible
  • 2 cups of whole unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped

Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  1. In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Use a whisk or a fork to make sure that everything is well combined.
  2. In your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until pale and thick.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and beat for another minute.
  4. Add the flour one cup at a time until all the flour is fully incorporated.
  5. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and add the chopped nuts and chocolate chips by hand.
  6. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  7. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray the cookie sheets with non-stick spray.
  8. Flour your hands and form the dough into five parts.
  9. Flour your workspace (a cutting board will do fine here) and form each portion of dough into a log about 10 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide.
  10. Place the dough logs on the cookie sheets no closer together than three inches apart.
  11. Using a fork or a small whish beat the egg white until frothy.
  12. Brush the logs with the egg white.
  13. Sprinkle with the sugar.
  14. Bake the biscotti for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  15. Rotate the biscotti after about ten minutes.
  16. Remove the biscotti from the oven and let cool on a rack until they are cool to the touch.
  17. Lower the oven to 200 degrees.
  18. Using a serrated knife slice the biscotti into ¼ inch cookies.
  19. Place the cookies back on the baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes or until they are dry and crisp.
  20. Let them cool before serving.

Zaletti Recipe

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup of currants
  • ¼ cup of boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons of grappa
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine polenta
  • ¾ cup of sugar (plus extra for garnishing)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 stick of butter melted
  • Zest of one lemon

Instructions

  1. Put the currants into a bowl and cover with the boiling water.
  2. Add the grappa.
  3. Mix and let sit until the currants become plump.
  4. Mix the flour, polenta, sugar, salt, and baking powder in your stand mixer using the paddle attachment.
  5. In another bowl mix together the egg, and the egg yolk using a fork or a whisk.
  6. Once the egg and yolk are combined add the cooled melted butter and the lemon zest.
  7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the flour while the mixer is on medium.
  8. Once the flour and egg is thoroughly combined add the currants and mix for about half a minute.
  9. Remove the dough from the bowl, flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill the dough in your refrigerator for about an hour.
  10. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  11. Spray two cookie sheets with non-stick spray.
  12. Roll teaspoon sized bits of dough into finger sized rolls.
  13. Place them on the cookie sheets about an inch apart.
  14. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar.
  15. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  16. Let cool before serving.

Hints and Tips

  • Because every oven has "hot spots," it is always a good idea to rotate the cookie sheets about halfway through baking.
  • Fine polenta and instant polenta are the same thing.
  • Grappa is an aperitif made from grape skins and seeds left over from making wine. Although it adds a nice flavor to the Zaletti if you don't have any handy you can skip that ingredient.
Recipes for Biscotti and Zaletti Italian Cookies