Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti

Biscotti, biscotti. While they suddenly seem to be everywhere I look, even at the cash counter at my local produce market – I’m wondering, when did they go out of fashion? Not ever, not in my kitchen. This clever invention of a little something sweet that keeps remarkably well, is always in  – in my kitchen.

Always looking to alter recipes and make them my own…. that is, to the flavours I want – I’ll come across what looks like a good recipe and make it. Then I’ll change things up. All in the name of answering food cravings. Which I get. A lot!

Take cookies or most desserts, for that matter… I love lemon. And poppy seeds. Neither are easy to find in a dessert or sweet, so… a girl’s gotta do, what she’s gotta do. When I think of lemon cookies, I always think of being in Italy. Lemon cookies everywhere!! They love lemons. They revere lemons. Which of course they do with all seasonally, locally grown items. I LOVE how they celebrate a harvest with a festa. For my next trip to Bella Italia… I’m hoping to crash one. Or two.

They use lemons in everything, from cookies to gelato to liqueur. Who can resist a mid-afternoon icy lemon gelato or a chilled after dinner shot of Limoncello….. buonissimo!!

 Luckily, they’re available all year long. When you buy them, check that they’re ‘heavy for their size’. That = nice + juicy! And…. if you don’t have a proper citrus zester or microplane… buy one. They can be pricey but you will be thankful for it each and every time you use it. It’s fast. Efficient. Saves you from having to re-chop what you’ve tried to take off…. with a zester that’s not up to snuff. ‘Nuff said.

Lemon Poppy Seed Biscotti

Because of the double baking removing all the moisture, these can last indefinitely. To change things up, use orange zest in place of lemon. Either way, make sure the zest is fine. For an added burst of citrus, make a little glaze for a topping, using icing sugar & lemon or orange juice. That will really make them ‘zing!’ This recipe is adapted from my fave baking site: 

2/3 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp finely chopped lemon or orange zest
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Set your oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, add sugar and eggs, beat with an electric mixer on high speed until thick, pale and fluffy – about 5 minutes.

Add vanilla and zest, stirring to distribute the zest evenly.
Add the flour mixture to the egg sugar mix, stirring by hand with a spatula or large wooden spoon until combined.
Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and roll into a log shape, about 12 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide. *You may have to flour your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky. (If you prefer smaller cookies, shape the dough into 2 equal sized logs – as in the photo below).

Place the log(s) on the baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes (approx 12 – 15 if making 2 logs) or until firm to the touch.
Remove from oven (reduce oven temperature to 325° for 2nd baking) and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes
Transfer the log(s) to a cutting board and with a serrated knife, cut into about 1/2 inch slices.

Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool; they can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks (if they last that long!)
Makes about 20 – 24 biscotti, more if you bake as 2 smaller logs.