Thursday, February 23, 2012

Biscotti Picanti

First I like to congratulate the Bread Baking Babes with their 4th Anniversary. Lien of Notitie Van Lien invited  us, Buddies, to bake Biscotti Picanti with them.
In my memory Biscotti is a very hard and teeth breaking biscuit. Not a biscuit you like to eat or share with friends. So, at first I thought I wouldn’t join the Babes with these Biscotti. But after reading their enthusiastic blogs I just had to give these “twice baked” biscuits another chance.
Thank you all, Bread Baking Babes; these biscotti are delicious! They’re crunchy and spicy. The smell and taste of black and white sesame seeds, nigella and aniseed is wonderful. And they are highly addictive. There was no time for soup or other drinks to dip them in; as soon as they were cool enough they started to disappear. Just when Peter was about to eat the last ones we had a visit of a friend. Peter and our friend couldn’t stop eating and of course she had the last one. Both of them looked at me for more Biscotti. I promised to bake them again soon.

This recipe is from Savory baking from the Mediterranean - by Anissa Helou 
I made some minor changes: I used water instead of wine. In our small village there’s no wine in the shops. I added black and white sesame seeds, nigella and aniseeds. I crushed them all in the grinder and all the lovely flavors came out.

Biscotti Picanti (Sicilian Spicy Rusks)
(makes about 36 rusks)

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 package = 7 grams)
60 g warm water

± 225 g  AP-flour (+ extra for kneading and shaping)
240 g semolina flour
25 g aniseed
28 g white sesame seeds (I used black and white seeds)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
130 g extra-virgin olive oil
175 g water (the original recipe calls for 60 g dry white wine and 115 g water)

Dissolve the yeast in 60 g warm water and stir until creamy.

Combine flours, (grinded) aniseed, sesame seeds, nigella, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the olive oil in the well and rub into the flour with your fingertips until well incorporated.

Add yeasted water and 175 g warm water and knead briefly to make a rough ball of dough. Knead this for another 3-5 minutes or so. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Knead for another 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and let rise in a lightly greased bowl, covered with greased plastic, for 1 hour in a warm place (or until doubled).

Divide the dough in 3 equal pieces and shape each piece into a loaf about 30 cm long.
Transfer the logs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and leaving at least 5 cm between them so they can expand. 
Take a dough cutter (or sharp knife) and cut the loaves into 2,5 cm thick slices (or if you prefer them thinner in 1 cm slices, as I did). Cover with greased plastic and let the rise for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 260ºC.

Bake the sliced loaves for 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 80ºC.

Separate the slices and turn so that they lie flat on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake for about 1 hour more, or until golden brown and completely hardened (if not totally hardened, return to the turned off oven to let them dry more).Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve at room temperature, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Or just eat them all!

I found (and used) this recipe of Lien of Notitie van Lien
I send this to Susan’s YeastSpotting and Heather of Bake Your Own Bread 


  1. Beautiful biscotti Connie! I also was surprise by their wonderful light crunch. Thanks for baking with us. I'll send you your badge later today!

  2. They look absolutely great, good to hear they were such a hit with your friends. Thanks for baking with us!

    1. Biscotti are great to share and to eat alone. I can't wait to see what great recipe the BBB come up with for next month.

  3. It's interesting how many of us use that word addictive when we talk about these.
    So glad you tried these and enjoyed.
    Thanks for baking with us.

    1. Hi Tanna, it is interesting and true for most of us. Maybe it's the combination of spices and crunch?

  4. What a great idea to add nigella, Connie! And it's also nice to know that the rusks work well made with water instead of wine. Not really surprising though, when you consider that water is the nectar of the gods.

    Thank you for baking with us!