Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Grandest Lady in the Land ( The history of my Biscotti)

  ....was my Grammy. ~ Helen Louise Baldini-Bragdon
       That's where my Biscotti recipe came from.
           *The Viking legend of Grammy starts like this....She came over on the Nina...Christopher Columbus is her 'il nipote' (grandson).... KIDDING!!!
                            Grammy was First Generation American/Italian

                 Biscotti is the plural form of Biscotto...It means Twice Cooked/Baked. .The correct name is Biscotti di Pratto. It is also called Cantuccini. (coffee bread)
Grammy Helen
          * Interesting fact*...Twice baked breads were a staple of the Roman Legions.
Biscotti, if kept airtight, can last for centuries. It was staple for long journeys and on ships. It was treated much the way pioneers treated Hard Tack.
   Biscotti is usually a very hard, very dry biscuit/cookie. To soften up the biscotti, it is usually dipped in Coffee or Tea or Wine. Many people use biscotti with Soups and Sauces.

    The history of MY Biscotti recipe:
          When we were little, my Grammy made Biscotti for us. Grammy told me that her Mama told her how to make it....That makes my recipe nearly 100 years old!  Grammy also said plain (country) folks had more traditional Biscotti while 'City Folk' had  fancy Biscotti. 

Grammy is 2nd from the left
      Grammy made ours as smaller Biscotti.Usually about 3-4" long, vs  the more traditional Long biscotti. Why, you ask? "Because a LADY (as she's staring me down) would NEVER be caught in public with an 8" long anything hanging out her mouth"...Now that I am older and infinitely wiser, I think it was twofold. 1) it was much easier for little hands to hold and dunk, and 2) to teach her heathen granddaughter some manners.
     I make ours at Buffalo Gals in both the shorter 2paks or the single long biscotti. The 2paks are great... One for now. One for Later!
     As I got older, she didn't make it as often.
Many, many years went by..... my Mom gave me a set of handwritten cookbooks. Tucked into the back were a few loose recipes on scraps of paper. Among them, was the Biscotti recipe!
                                                             Lucky me!
   Now I get to share my history and my Yummy Biscotti with you!...and while I will NOT share my recipe, I do have some hints and tricks...
      * For a higher, fluffier Biscotti~ use the mixer and whip it good.
      * When sending through the oven the second time~ bake 5 min on each side and then stand up for 3-5 more minutes. They will bake better like this and the bottoms wont scorch.
      * Using Cocoa Powder? ~ for every 1/2 Cup cocoa, decrease flour by 1/4- 1/2 cup.

Ciao! ~
My Cinna-Mocha Biscotti



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