The model for this recipe is an old Sicilian cookie called biscotti Napoletani (Neapolitan biscotti). Why a Sicilian cookie should be called “Neapolitan” is beyond me, but the recipe was shared in the late 1980s by Salvatore Maggio when I visited his pastry shop in Trapani, on the west coast of Sicily. I’ve made a lot of adjustments to the recipe over the years, and recently tried spicing it up, and it worked perfectly. Please notice that there are two quantities of hazelnuts in the recipe—one is ground with the sugar and the other is crushed to leave bits of hazelnut throughout the biscotti.
Keep the biscotti between sheets of wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
Hazelnut Biscotti: If you want some nonspicy biscotti, omit the spices except for the cinnamon. Omit the orange zest. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to the honey and water. Almonds also work well in this nonspicy version.
© 2008 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.