Kid-friendly Amazing Italian "Biscotti di Ricotta" Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Amazing Italian "Biscotti di Ricotta"

Recipe: Amazing Italian "Biscotti di Ricotta"

Amazing Italian "Biscotti di Ricotta"

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Vadim Gouida/Shutterstock.com
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
25 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Amazing Italian "Biscotti di Ricotta"

The word "biscotti" is derived from the Latin words "bis" (twice) + "coctus" (cooked). These twice-cooked cookies are named for their traditional preparation, which involves baking the dough, letting it cool, and then rebaking it. Here, we've simplified the process so you don't have to spend all day in the kitchen. 

Keep in mind—biscotti are dry and crunchy and, therefore, almost always served with something to dip them in, such as coffee or tea, or you can try them with our Drizzly Blueberry-Lemon Compote. Yum!—or "Buono" (good) as they say in Italian!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • bake :

    to cook food with dry heat, as in an oven.

  • grease :

    to spread a small amount of cooking oil or fat, like butter, around a pan or dish to prevent food from sticking when it's cooked.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Muffin pan
  • Large mixing bowls (2)
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
scale
1X
2X
3X
4X
5X
6X
7X

Ingredients

Amazing Italian "Biscotti di Ricotta"

  • 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub 2 C gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs **(for EGG ALLERGY sub an extra 2/3 C ricotta cheese OR 2/3 C applesauce)**
  • 1/3 C ricotta cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub 1 extra egg OR 1/3 C applesauce)**
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • Cooking spray or vegetable oil to grease pan

Food Allergen Substitutions

Amazing Italian "Biscotti di Ricotta"

  • Gluten/Wheat: For 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour, substitute 2 C gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour.
  • Egg: For 2 eggs, substitute an extra 2/3 C ricotta cheese OR 2/3 C applesauce. 
  • Dairy: For 1/3 C ricotta cheese, substitute 1 extra egg OR 1/3 C applesauce.

Instructions

Amazing Italian "Biscotti di Ricotta"

1.
intro

"Ciao!" Biscotti are crunchy Italian cookies most commonly served with coffee. If Oreos are milk's favorite cookies, then biscotti are coffee’s favorite cookies. The recipe for this classic deviates from the traditional cookie formula. There is no fat from oil or butter in this recipe at all. The only fat comes from the eggs and ricotta. This small amount of fat will leave the biscotti with its classic crunch when all is said and done.

2.
measure + mix

In a large mixing bowl, start by measuring all of the dry ingredients: 1 3/4 cups flour and 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder. Whisk the dry ingredients to sift out any lumps.

3.
measure + mix

In a separate bowl, measure all the wet ingredients: 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup ricotta cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 3/4 cup sugar. Combine them all with a whisk.

4.
preheat + stir

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine all the dry and wet ingredients in the larger mixing bowl of the two you were using. Stir the ingredients with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. Make sure that all the dry ingredients are well incorporated.

5.
recipe note

Unlike normal cookie dough, biscotti dough should be overmixed. This dough needs to be mixed until a tacky dough forms so the end result will be dry and crunchy. The opposite is true in almost all other cookie recipes.

6.
grease + bake

Using cooking spray or oil, grease the wells of a muffin pan. Scoop the biscotti dough into each of the greased wells until they are roughly 1/2 full. Slide the muffin pan into the preheated oven for 25 minutes. (For extra crunchiness, bake the biscotti a second time for 10 more minutes at 300 F. You can also slice the biscotti before the second baking to give them a unique shape.)

7.
cool + crunch

Allow the biscotti to cool on a plate or tray for at least 5 minutes. Then, enjoy Drizzly Blueberry-Lemon Compote (see recipe) alongside this crunchy biscotti for a tasty afternoon snack. "Buon appetito" or "Enjoy your meal" in Italian!

Surprise Ingredient: Ricotta!

back to recipe
Photo by MaryLucky/Shutterstock.com

Hi, I'm Ricotta!

"Ciao! That's "Hello" in Italian, and I'm an Italian cheese! I'm soft and light, and you can use me in entrées (that's a fancy French word for a main dish) and desserts. As a youngster, my flavor is mild, but I get more tangy with age."

  • Ricotta (literally "recooked") is an Italian cheese that uses whey, a low-fat, nutritious liquid by-product of cheese production. It is usually made from cows' milk but may also be produced using the milk of sheep (Ricotta Romana) or Italian water buffalo (Ricotta di Bufala Campana).
  • An ancient method of making ricotta existed in the second millennium BCE using ceramic milk boilers. Metal boilers are used today, but the process is similar. 
  • Most of the milk protein is removed when making cheese, but some protein remains in the whey. The whey is heated to near boiling with a little acid, and the combination of low pH and high temperature denatures the protein, removing its natural qualities and causing it to form a fine curd. Once cooled, the curd is separated by passing through a fine cloth. 
  • This curd, after drainage, is ricotta. Because ricotta is made from whey rather than milk, it is technically considered a whey cheese. Ricotta is a creamy white, fresh cheese (as opposed to ripened or aged) and tastes slightly sweet. Its texture is similar to cottage cheese; however, ricotta has less liquid, more fat, and is creamier. 
  • Like many fresh cheeses, ricotta is highly perishable. However, it can last longer if cheesemakers put ricotta through extra processing, such as baking, salting, smoking, or additional fermentation.
  • Chefs and home cooks use ricotta in desserts like cannoli, cheesecake, and pies. It is also a traditional ingredient in Italian pasta dishes like lasagne, manicotti, and ravioli. 
  • A half cup of whole-milk ricotta contains around 13 grams of fat, 9 grams of protein, and 20 percent of the daily value of calcium.

What are Biscotti?

Photo by Sergii Koval/Shutterstock.com
  • Biscotti are oblong-shaped Italian cookies that are hard and crunchy because they are baked twice, removing their moisture. They are typically made with flour, sugar, eggs, and almonds. Biscotti are best dipped in coffee, tea, or dessert wine to return their moisture and soften them before eating.
  • The word "biscotti" in Italian means "biscuits" or "cookies." ("Biscotto" is the singular form: "biscuit" or "cookie.") "Biscotti" comes from a Latin word that translates to "twice-cooked." 
  • In Italy, biscotti are called "cantucci." They were first produced in Prato, a city in the Tuscany region of Italy, about 300 to 400 years ago. They are similar to the dry, hard, twice-baked cookies given to Roman Legion soldiers hundreds of years before to eat during long battle marches.
  • Other countries have a version of biscotti. For example, France has their "croquant," and the Catalan community of Spain has their "carquinyolis." 
  • There are variations to the basic recipe, such as biscotti made with pine nuts instead of almonds and chocolate-dipped biscotti. Our Sticky Fingers Cooking recipe, Amazing Italian "Biscotti di Ricotta," is nut-free and includes ricotta cheese.

Let's Learn About Italy!

Photo by Marina Andrejchenko/Shutterstock.com
  • Italy became a unified country in 1861, only 150 years ago. It is sometimes called "bel paese" or "beautiful country."  
  • Italians invented the piano and the thermometer! 
  • In ancient Roman mythology, two twin brothers named Romulus and Remus founded Rome, Italy's capital city. The myth says the twins were abandoned and then discovered by a she-wolf before being found and raised by a shepherd and his wife. Eventually (and after many exciting adventures), they found themselves at the location of Palatine Hill, where Romulus built "Roma." The Italian wolf became Italy's unofficial national animal. 
  • In the 1930s and 40s, Mussolini, Italy's prime minister, and dictator tried to eliminate all foreign words from the Italian language. How did he do that? He just changed them! For example, in soccer, "goal" became "meta." Disney character names changed, too: Donald Duck became "Paperino;" Mickey Mouse became "Topolino;" and Goofy became "Pippo." Although they're not banned anymore, these words and names have stuck. So now if you go to the Italian Disneyland, called Gardaland Park, you will see Topolino and Pippo! 
  • About 60 million people call Italy home, and it is 116,350 square miles, slightly larger than the US state of Arizona. If you compare that to the United Kingdom, 67 million people live there, and it is about 94,350 square miles. So, the UK is smaller than Italy but has a bigger population! 
  • The Italian flag is green, white, and red. These colors represent hope, faith, and charity.
  • The average Italian eats close to 55 pounds of pasta annually. If you think about how light pasta is, that is a considerable amount! There are more than 500 different types of pasta eaten in Italy today. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Italy?

  • Kids begin school at 6 years old. They grow up speaking Italian, but they learn English in school, so many become bilingual in Italian and English.
  • The most popular sport for kids is football (soccer). The Italian word for soccer is "calcio," the same word they use for "kick." A favorite of younger kids is "Rody, the bouncing horse," a plastic horse that a small child can hop onto and bounce around the room. Rody was invented in Italy in 1984.  
  • The family ("la famiglia") is a central characteristic of Italian life. Children have great respect for their older relatives. It is traditional to name the first male child after the grandfather and the first female child after the grandmother.
  • If kids live close to school, they can go home and have lunch with their families! Lunch at school might be pasta, meat with vegetables, a sandwich, or a salad with lots of ingredients. Families typically eat dinner later (7 to 8 pm), so kids end up staying up later, too!
  • Between lunch and dinner, kids often enjoy "merenda," which is an afternoon snack that translates to "something that is deserved." It is really a mini-meal that can include both savory and sweet foods. Examples of savory foods are a salami or mortadella sandwich, a slice of rustic bread rubbed with a cut, raw tomato, or "pizza bianca" (white pizza without tomato sauce). Types of sweet foods eaten during merenda are "gelato" (a lower-fat type of ice cream), any kind of cake, or biscotti dipped in warm milk.

The Yolk's On You

What weighs more: a pound of milk or a pound of ricotta cheese?

A pound of milk. The ricotta is "whey" lighter.

THYME for a Laugh

What do bakers give their moms on Mother's Day? 

Flours!

The Yolk's On You

What did the yeast say to the bag of flour? 

Come on! We knead to be serious!

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