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Orange Biscotti (Biscotti all’Arancia)

Because candied orange peel is frequently used in baking in Italy, the demand for the fruit is high, and it flies off the shelves of local gastronomie. The Italians make it from high-quality citrus fruits grown along the Amalfi coast, and it is always very fresh and full of flavor.

Fine yellow cornmeal gives these biscotti a pleasant crunch, while fresh and candied orange peel add a zesty flavor. They keep a long time in a tightly sealed tin and are nice to have on hand for afternoon tea or with ice cream or fruit desserts. Or enjoy them with a glass of dessert wine such as Moscato di Pantelleria, a honeylike wine from an island off Sicily.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. grated orange zest
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped candied orange peel

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Dust the baking sheets with flour and tap out the excess.

In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cups flour, the cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar on medium speed until foamy and pale yellow. Beat in the grated orange zest. Reduce the speed to low and stir in the flour mixture and the chopped candied orange peel until just blended. The dough should be soft and sticky.

Using 2 rubber spatulas, scoop the dough into 3 logs about 12 inches long and placed about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Moisten your hands with cool water and pat the surface of the dough until smooth.

Bake until the logs are lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven, leaving the oven on.

Slide the logs onto a cutting board. Using a heavy chef’s knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick. Stand the slices on a cut side on the baking sheets, arranging them about 1/2 inch apart.

Return the baking sheets to the oven and bake until the slices are lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to wire racks and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 6 dozen.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy, by Michele Scicolone (Time-Life Books, 1999).