This is my first recipe from Biscotti: Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome, Rome Sustainable Food Project. The Academy is a handsome institution just along the hill from where I live. Since 2007, its kitchens have been run along sustainable lines, with an emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients. The Rome Sustainable Food Project has (so far) produced two recipe books, Biscotti and Zuppe (“Soup”).
Much as I love a good soup, that’s not the subject of this blog!
Anyway. These are lovely wholesome cookies, their flavour defined by the use of spelt (farro) flour and by your choice of honey. I used an Italian woodland honey, which is dark and has a deep robust flavour, almost smoky; if you used say a light, floral honey the flavour would be more subtle.
I tend to adjust recipes as I go along, so the below isn’t identical to what you’d find in the book. For example, I added some extra sesame seeds to the dough, as I like them.
200g spelt flour (I used farro bianco – white spelt)
240g plain flour
12g baking powder
215g butter (if you use unsalted, you can add a pinch of salt to the recipe)
100g caster sugar
15g vanilla extract
30g raw sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten
Extra raw sesame seeds and granulated sugar
Sieve together the flours and baking powder.
Cream together the butter and caster sugar, then beat in the egg, honey and vanilla.
Mix in 30g sesame seeds.
Make a dough by adding the flour to the creamed mixture.
Bring together then wrap in cling film and chill around half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Line baking sheet(s) with parchment.
To make the cookies, pinch off lumps of dough around the size of a walnut. I went for 40g each, but I think 30g might be nicer, for a slightly less macho cookie.
Roll the lump into a rope around 15cm long, then twist around the ends and pinch together.
Repeat until your baking tray is full.
I added an egg glaze to the original recipe to help with the adherence of the sesame seeds and granulated sugar that you sprinkle on the cookies.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.
Unfortunately, my oven has a fierce bottom heat, and no fan, so the bottoms tend to brown before the tops, hence the variation in colour you see in the pic. No matter though – still yummy.