I'm hooked on a "cookie."
A friend recently brought me a batch of biscotti made from a recipe she'd found in the New York Times. They were hailed as healthful, with no added fat. Since the article offered no nutritional information, she wanted an analysis.
Everyone lucky enough to get one from me has raved about them.
Biscotti are twice-baked Italian cookies too crispy and crunchy to eat just plain. They must be dipped.
Traditionally, the nutty cookies are dipped in vin santo, an amber-colored dessert wine, or espresso.
We have experimented with other drinks, and found our favorites.
* Asti Spumante for celebrations.
* Earl Grey tea for an afternoon pick-me-up.
* Swiss Chocolate Almond coffee for dessert.
* Milk for the kids if they discover the supply.
As sweets go, they are a dieter's delight. The recipe makes 48 cookies, each providing 55 calories, 2 grams of fat and 20 mg of cholesterol. The total calorie and fat count of your snack depends on your dipping liquid.
Biscotti di Prato
Yields 4 dozen cookies.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a large baking sheet. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light and foamy. Beat in orange peel and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Fold in almonds.
On the baking sheet, shape the dough into two 14-by-2-inch logs about 4 inches apart. Smooth the tops and sides with a rubber spatula.
Bake 30 minutes, or until firm and golden. Remove baking sheet from oven and lower oven heat to 274 degrees. Cool 10 minutes.
Transfer logs to a cutting board. With a large, heavy, chef's knife, cut the logs diagonally into 1/2 -inch slices. The best way to do this is to place the tip of the knife on the board, then press down firmly, with one hand pressing on the dull side of the blade. This will cut cleanly through the almonds, and the cookies will be less likely to crumble.
Stand the slices upright (not on a cut side) on the baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Bake 30 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
Nutritional information: 55 calories, 2 grams fat, 20 mg cholesterol each.
Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore and director of Eating Together in Baltimore