Biscotti means “twice cooked”; the closest equivalent in English is “rusk.” This basic dough is made in a food processor and stirred with chopped hazelnuts, dried berries, candied orange rind, and spices. These biscotti are flavored very much like the medieval panforte—hard, round disks, half cake, half bread—sold in Italy at Christmastime.
½cupdried currants, cherries, or cranberries, soaked in just enough warm water to cover for 30 minutes, drained
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Unless you are using nonstick pans, line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and sugar by hand, with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 1 minute, or in a food processor for 15 seconds. Add the eggs and butter and stir, mix, or process until thorougly combined and the mixture clumps together. Mix in the currants, hazelnuts, and orange zest by hand or with the mixer—not in the food processor.
On one of the prepared sheet pans, shape the dough into two11-inch logs. Flatten the logs so they’re each about 3 inches wide.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the tops of the logs turn pale brown. Turn down the oven to 300°F and remove the sheet pan. Let the logs cool for 15 minutes, then slice them with a serrated knife on a diagonal into ½-inch-thick cookies. Use a sawing motion with very little pressure. If the dough is soft and tears, let the logs cool for 5 minutes more. Arrange the biscotti cut side up on both sheet pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool until set and then transfer to cooling racks, or let cool in the pans set on racks. Store tightly sealed in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and sugar in the food processor. Add the egg and butter and process. Put the dough in a bowl and fold in the currants, hazelnuts, and orange zest.
Divide the dough in half and shape it into two logs on a parchment paper-lined or nonstick sheet pan.
Flatten the logs.
Keep flattening and pressing the sides of the logs until they hold together and are even. Bake until pale brown.
Allow the logs to cool for 15 minutes, then slice them on a diagonal with a serrated knife.
Arrange the biscotti on the sheet pans and bake until golden brown.
Finished biscotti (one dipped in a glass of kirsch).