I love biscotti! But my teeth are afraid of them because they are SO hard. But that is the nature of the biscotti beast. Biscotti are twice-baked little cakes turned cookie. And they are traditionally meant to be dunked into wine or coffee to be softened before eating. For the holidays, I thought I would combine the concept of pumpkin pie and spice into this crunchy cornmeal cookie. Cardamom seems to be my spice of the week. I recommend buying cardamom in the pod and crushing them as you need them. The fragrance is heady. This cookie is so fabulous fresh out of the oven. It is crispy and chewy at the same time. It is with the extra cooking time that renders them into the hard creatures we know them to be. So, if you like a little chew, bake them for only 10 minutes or so on the second round.
PUMPKIN PIE BISCOTTI WITH CARDAMOM AND PISTACHIOS
Makes: About 44 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
From start to finish: 90 minutes
Mixer – 13’X18” baking tray – parchment paper or silpat mat – cling wrap – cooling racks
Line a 13”x18” baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cardamom pod, crushed
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin pie mix
1 cup salted whole pistachios
1 egg white, slightly whisked
2 teaspoons fine baking sugar
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Sift together flour, cake flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and crushed cardamom. Set aside.
In a mixer, using the paddle blade, cream together the sugar, brown sugar and two large eggs until light and foamy (about 3 minutes). Add the pumpkin pie mix and blend for another minute. Turn off the blender, and add the dry ingredients and nuts in one go. Turn blender on low and pulse gently to just incorporate the dry and wet ingredients. (Over mixing will turn the flour tough.) The batter will be sticky and moist yet still hold its shape.
Using a rubber spatula, dollop the batter onto the prepared baking sheet into two rows about 16” long by 4” wide. Use a sheet of cling wrap to cover each log. Smooth your hands over the cling wrap to even out the shape of the logs and to smooth out the bumps. Peel away the cling wrap and discard.
Brush each log with enough egg white to make it glisten. You don’t need the entire egg white. Then sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake on the top rack for 30 minutes. Press to test for doneness. The surface should be firm and will most likely have cracked. A toothpick should come out clean. Transfer logs to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then slice into half inch thick, or thinner, cookies. Slice on an angle for a longer cookie. Transfer the slices back to the baking tray. You may need two trays now.
Reduce oven temperature to 325. Bake for 10-20 minutes turning them over half way through. Bake them less for a softer cookie, and longer for a very hard cookie.
CHEF’S TIP: Store in an airtight container. If cookies become too hard, place a slice of bread into the container. The moisture from the bread will transfer to the cookies.