Biscotti X

Chocolate-Almond-Filled Cookies from Sicily

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Preparation info

  • Makes about

    32 pieces

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

I first saw these wonderful biscotti at Giulio and Nina Nostro’s Pasticceria Margherita, in Reggio Calabria. They make two different versions’—these and a kind in which a freshly made almond paste containing eggs replaces the dough, and homemade citron preserves are the filling. The Nostros are from Messina, in Sicily, where these biscotti are traditional.

Ingredients

    Pasta Frolla

  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

    Filling

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • cups almonds, toasted
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg white

    Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch salt

Method

For the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter finely, leaving the mixture cool and powdery. Stir in the eggs with a fork and continue stirring until the dough holds together. Knead lightly once or twice on a lightly floured surface and wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Chill the dough several hours or prepare it up to 2 days ahead.

For the filling, break the chocolate coarsely and combine with the almonds and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. And the egg white and pulse the machine on and off at 1-second intervals until the filling is coarsely ground and holding together.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in the middle level. Line 3 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans with parchment. To form the pastries, divide the dough into 4 parts and roll each part into a 16-inch cylinder. Flour the dough and the work surface and press to flatten the dough so it is about 3 inches wide. For the egg wash, whisk together the egg and salt. Paint the dough with the egg wash and place a line of filling down the middle of the dough. Fold both sides up to cover the filling, overlapping slightly. Cut in half crosswise and roll each half out with the palms of your hands to a 12-inch length. Cut into 3-inch lengths. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Slash both cut edges of each biscotto about 1 inch deep, place 1 inch apart on all sides on paper-lined pans, and open the slashed edges to make an X. Bake about 15 minutes, until golden. Cool and dust with the confectioners’ sugar.

Confectioners’ sugar for finishing

Variations

Substitute the filling for Cucidati, below, for the chocolate-almond filling.

For Giulio Nostro’s X Cedro Biscotti (Biscotti X with Citron), use the dough and filling for Paste Nuove,, shaping as directed for biscotti X.