Biscotti As the New Little Black Dress

Rob and I are traveling down this weekend to the fabulous casa de Mindy K. (and roommate Mallory) for a holiday cocktail party. It's pretty major - he's even promised to dig out a tie for the event, and this is a man who hates ties with a passion and a vengeance, so much to the point that he was going to petition to ban them in the office. I for one am rather excited, because I like ties. Then again, I don't have to wear one.
I did, however, have to find just the right hostess gift for the event: a homemade edible, able to withstand travel, and suitably dressy enough to impress for the occasion. These beautiful, bite-size biscotti caught my eye, and I am oh-so-glad.

Better than a traditional cracker or cheese straw, savory biscotti is a new avenue for me - but I already have plans to make them again next week to bring home for Christmas Eve nibbles. Like the quintessential little black dress, these are going to be my new go-to for swank functions and events. They'd be wonderful with just about any appetizer spread, fancy or not, but I think they'll be right at home debuting at a semi-formal affair. The small biscotti are crisp and golden-brown, flecked throughout and on top with coarse pepper and shreds of Parmesan to offset the spice. Not much more time-consuming than regular biscotti - they do take a bit, but well worth the investment.

just barely tweaked from Gourmet, December 2006

1 Tbsp and 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 1/4 c grated Parmesan (I used a Grana Padano)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 c ) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 large eggs
1 c whole milk

Put oven racks in upper and lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350 F.
Place 2 cups of grated Parmesan into a large bowl. Using a pepper mill to produce coarse grinds, grind 1 Tbsp of the whole peppercorns into the bowl; toss to mix. Whisk in the flour, baking powder and salt into the cheese mixture and make sure it's well combined. Blend in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine meal. Whisk 3 of the eggs with the milk and add to a well in the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quarter dough. Flour hands and form each quarter into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log (about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch high). Transfer logs to 2 large ungreased baking sheets.
Grind the remaining 2 tsp peppercorns into a bowl with the remaining 1/4 c cheese and toss to combine. Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with cheese mixture. Bake, rotating the sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 F while logs are cooling.
Carefully transfer a warm log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in a single layer on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs and transfer slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.
Keep in an airtight container at room temperature.
Mine yielded a little less than the given estimate - maybe about 4 1/2 dozen biscotti.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They look great! I've never had savory biscotti before. Some thing tells me I will like them better than the sweet!

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooo! I like the idea of a savoury biscotti - I reckon this could be a whole new take on the croutons-with-soup thing!

8:35 PM  
Blogger emily said...

Rachel - This was my first adventure with savory biscotti as well, but it won't be my last . .

Ellie - What a great idea, I hadn't thought of that! All of a sudden I'm thinking maybe gruyere ones with french onion soup - thanks for the inspiration!

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Savory biscotti...excellent idea.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

o, I love biscotti!! nice...
never have tried a savoury version though - it sounds great!
have fun this weekend! :)

5:09 AM  
Blogger Laura Rebecca said...

What a great idea! (And I love the post's title!)

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, yes, Biscotti Dresses, same name as the designer desert, could hold a candle to the little black dress! Looks delicious!

9:39 PM  
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