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American Biscotti

April 15, 1993|BEV BENNETT

If you're sipping espresso, cappuccino or caffe latte in a coffee bar, a plate of biscotti is the natural accompaniment, just as a slice of apple pie goes with a cup of coffee in a diner.

Biscotti are sliced, toasted, ultra-crisp cookies that beg to be dipped into something hot. In fact, some versions are so hard they're impossible to eat otherwise.

However, biscotti are not without controversy. The traditional Italian recipe is relatively simple and low in fat, which accounts for its popularity among some fans. Others see this as a drawback. If it doesn't taste buttery and rich like an American cookie, then it's not worth eating.

In the spirit of compromise, and to whet more appetites for this easy-to-make dessert, I have created a biscotti recipe that should even satisfy Mrs. Fields die-hards.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Disguised as Biscotti contain butter, egg, nuts and chocolate chips, just like the classic cookie recipe, but are prepared like biscotti. The dough is shaped into a log and baked. Then the log is sliced and the slices oven-toasted on both sides.

The results are crunchy (though less so than commercial versions), buttery and chocolaty--something for both cookie and biscotti lovers.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES DISGUISED AS BISCOTTI 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup sugar 1 egg 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla Grated peel 1 small orange 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour 3/4 teaspoon baking powder Dash salt 1/2 cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Beat butter in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in egg. Mix in vanilla and orange peel, scraping sides of bowl.

In small bowl stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Do not over-beat or cookies will be tough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips by hand. Dough will be firm. Shape dough into 12x2x1-inch log. Using spatula, place log on greased and floured baking sheet.

Bake at 325 degrees until light brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Using spatula, carefully remove log to wire rack and cool 5 minutes.

Return log to cutting board and cut into 12 (1-inch wide) slices, cutting each slice on diagonal. Place each slice on side on baking sheet.

Toast biscotti 20 minutes, then flip over and bake until golden brown on both sides and biscotti is hard in texture, another 20 minutes. Biscotti can be frozen or stored in airtight container at room temperature. If frozen, thaw and warm at 325 degrees 5 to 10 minutes to re-crisp. Makes 12 biscotti.

Note : To toast walnuts, place on baking sheet and toast at 325 degrees 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and then from baking sheet immediately so nuts don't continue to brown.

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