Monday, March 4, 2013

Olive Oil Biscotti

Unless you've been living in a cave somewhere, the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on olive oil, has been all over the news lately. Olive oil has so many beneficial uses, from culinary to skin care, that it makes sense to reach for it whenever you can. Which is why I decided to come up with a recipe for olive oil biscotti, my favorite all-time cookie.

And why not use my favorite all-time extra virgin olive oil too -- Casale Sonnino olive oil. The olives are grown at a farm a little south of Rome, owned by friends of mine - George and Claire - who take the utmost care in the growing, harvesting and grinding, personally overseeing the operation every step of the way. 

If you've done any reading about olive oil, you know that so much of what's sold as Italian extra virgin oil is really suspect - even well known brand names. The oil may be from other countries and may not even be olive oil at all. A lot has been written about the subject, including this article here

Aside from the question of whether it's really olive oil, there's little way of knowing (assuming it is olive oil), how the olives and trees were grown and maintained, whether they were overly sprayed with pesticide days before picking, whether they were sitting around too long before milling, subject to bruising, whether all the olives came from Italy or whether the oil in the bottle really was the first cold pressing.

The olives from the 700 trees on George and Claire's property are hand picked by a small group of local women in the traditional manner. Nets are strung below the olive trees to capture any falling fruit before they hit the ground to prevent bruising. The olives are transported within days to a local mill, where George supervises the pressing from start to finish. I can always be sure that their extra virgin olive oil is the first cold pressing from estate grown olives when I buy Casale Sonnino olive oil. Like grapes, olives for oil come in many varieties. Casale Sonnino olive oil uses Broccanica, Rosciola, Venina and the Tuscan Leccino.

There's no doubt that you're getting the finest quality possible and it is evident in the taste. If you'd like to taste it too, it's available by mail order here in the states. Contact Claire at or at 516-767-7188. They also rent out the beautiful 18th century villa on the property to vacationers, and you can get more information by clicking here.

But back to the cookies. Casale Sonnino's olive oil is mild, which is perfect for these cookies. You wouldn't want to use an oil with an overpowering strong flavor in a delicate cookie. 

After you've mixed the batter, shape into logs.

Slice them after they come out of the oven and bake them a second time until they're golden. They're delicious plain just like this.

Or dress them up with a drizzle of white icing.

Or chocolate if you prefer.

 Wouldn't you love to unwrap a little hostess gift like this? Or sit down to a cup of coffee and a few biscotti yourself? Well then, what are you waiting for?  

 Olive Oil Biscotti

2 1/2 cups flour

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 cup pistachios, toasted in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

zest of three oranges

1 T. Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liqueur

glaze, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking power and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, place the eggs, sugar, olive oil, orange zest and Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur and mix for one minute until well blended. Add the flour mixture and pistachios and mix until all the ingredients are well blended.

Shape into "logs" on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 35 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and slice into individual biscotti. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees and place the biscotti back on the parchment-lined baking sheet for another 15 minutes, flipping once. Bake until golden, and keep a close eye on them the last five minutes to make sure they don't burn. 

Optional: Cool, then glaze and sprinkle with grated orange peel.

white glaze: Start with a little confectioner's sugar  - about 1 cup. Then add in a small amount of orange juice (a couple of tablespoons) until you have a consistency that's think enough to drizzle. Sprinkle with grated orange peel.

chocolate glaze: Melt some chocolate chips over a double boiler. While warm, drizzle over the cookies. Sprinkle with orange peel.

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  1. Wonderful biscotti! Perfect with a good cup of coffee.



  2. Dei biscotti stupendi, sani e gustosissimi!! Complimenti tesoro, di cuore!!

  3. Favolosi i tuoi biscotti. Un abbraccio, buona settimana Daniela.

  4. Those are beautiful, and since they come under my heading of "ccokies," which I consider to be one of the basic food groups, this is a recipe I must try. And as an added incentive to bake and eat these (as if I needed more) they contain olive oil, so they are good for you. See, I have treat consumption rationalized down to the nth degree!

    Your friends' olive oil sounds delightful. I would love to try it. I grew up with VERY strong olive oils, and they were way too much for my palate. I never liked it. Thus, it was not until I was an adult that I discovered the milder, fruitier ones which I have come to love. Oils from Liguria made from Taggiasca olives are my current favorite, along with DaVero from California.

    The situation with the adulteration and fraud in the olive oil industry is really terrible. The average consumer is very much left out in the cold on this one. I am no expert, and so I have come to rely heavily on trusted growers, reputable retailers or good friends for guidance here.

    Thanks for the tempting recipe and for the introduction to this oil. The hunt is on!

  5. Beautiful recipe! I can't wait to try them! Although I love strong, peppery, take-no-prisoners olive oil, I always keep a selection of different oils on hand. I prefer the Ligurian Taggiasca to which Adri refers for simply fish preparations. I just emailed Claire for some information on ordering her oil. Judging from her area code, she may not be located very far from me. Grazie per il consiglio!

  6. Yes, I would love to unwrap these. So I shall make them, wrap them and unwrap them. I did lug home olive oil from a lovely grove we stayed in Italy. The empty bottles - sit forlornly. I do hope ... that the olive oil I get from our Italian delis are indeed genuine! And I smiled at the good news about olive oil. Really good news. (Love olive oil cakes.)

  7. I wish I was sitting at your table eating those beautiful biscotti, I will make them with olive oil next time, wow, those look so good!You would laugh because today on my way home I stopped at TJ's and one of the things I picked up was a container of their chocolate biscotti, had them with coffee tonight, then I saw this, what a joke, no comparison!Your friends oil sounds wonderful I can just picture the women hand picking the olives. Did I ever tell you I have a thing for choclolate and orange? I'm all over your recipe!!!
    Oh and your top photo is screaming, come and sit at my table, love it!

  8. This is a simple biscotti with orange zest, olive oil, and flecks of toasted hazelnut. They have a bit of cornmeal in them that give them an extra crunch. In my mind, they are everything a biscotti should be, not too sweet, but sweet enough with subtle bright flavors contrasted by the warm hazelnut nuttiness that make it feel very different from any other kind of cookie.


  9. GORGEOUS photos and I must try this olive oil, once in for all!

  10. I can just taste these. Such lovely photos, and made with olive oil, that is a bonus. Plain or with a topping? Either way. Coffee yes.

  11. You just reminded me that I haven't made biscotti in a while. These look delcious!

  12. Hello Linda, I absolutely agree with you about the benefits of olive oil, because I'm Italian. Your cookies are fabulous, I will try them. a big kiss, nice to meet you.

  13. I biscotti della nostra tradizione, antichi e saporiti che una volta venivano cotti nei forni a legna dopo aver tolto il pane, fantastici.
    E' un piacere conoscerti, a presto!

  14. that looks so good. can i have some?:D

  15. What a beautiful grove of olive trees! And, these biscotti are a great use of the oil from them. Love the drizzle--both kinds.

  16. You've convinced me. Not that it was too hard. I have made other baked good with olive oil and was pleased with the results. GREG

  17. Biscotti are my favorite cookies too, Linda, and I've never thought to make them with olive oil. I love the story about your friends. I'm off now to read about their olive oil.

  18. Olive oil caressing this cookie is sublime. Add to it my favourite nut and Grand espresso cup is ready ;o)

    Wonderful recipe Linda...thank you for your dedication to our Italian gold.

    Ciao for now,

  19. This sounds like a wonderful olive oil! Your biscotti look mouthwatering good -- wish I had one right now with a cup of espresso.

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