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Everyone knows biscotti, it's the very crispy-crunchy cookie that's not a cookie but not a bread.  Most Savory Cheddar Biscottipeople think of biscotti as something sweet,  but have you ever considered that biscotti  does not even need to be sweet?  You can add cheese, herbs, spices, even chopped sun-dried tomatoes or olives, making these  a nifty alternative to crackers and  great addition to your appetizer and party food.

Biscotti gets its intense crunch because they’re baked twice, and it’s the second baking that really establishes their character. This does make biscotti a little more complicated than cookies,  but the dough is easy and the options and combinations are endless.

The procedure is the  same whether the biscotti is sweet or savory.   The dough is formed  into a log and baked  until it’s firm to the touch. After cooling, it is sliced on the bias (that’s how you get that nice arched shape) and baked  a second time, so that both sides are nicely toasted. Their crispness deepens as they cool.

Savory biscotti are great with soup, like crackers, and they make great appetizer  bases for spreads and meats and cheeses,  and  they are  fantastic with a glass of  wine.  (I like to dunk!)

Savory BiscottiSavory BiscottiSavory Biscotti



Variations:

Goat cheese and herbs
Parmesan and Black Pepper
Sun dried tomatoes and olives (and basil)
Pepper Jack Cheese and cumin
Pepperoni and Parmesan
Asiago, Romano, Thyme and Black Pepper
Basil, Pine Nut and Parmesan
Cardamom and swiss
Chilis, oregano and cheddar
Gouda and Walnut and Black Pepper


Basic Savory Biscotti Dough

2 eggs

1 cup cheese (whatever you are using - shredded or grated)

4 Tablespoons butter - softened

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

11/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne OR
1 teaspoon or more of the herb  or seasoning  you choose

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Put the eggs, butter and cheese in a food processor and process until yellow and thick, about a minute. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and herbs/seasoning and pulse three or four times, just to integrate the dry ingredients; you don’t want to overwork the gluten in the flour.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it until it holds together — it may be a bit crumbly at first. Shape the dough into an 8- to 10-inch log, transfer to the prepared baking sheet and gently flatten.

4. Bake until the log begins to color and is firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes, then cut on the bias into half-inch slices. Lay the biscotti flat on the baking sheet and bake until crisp and toasted, 15 minutes; turn and toast the second side for another 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

The biscotti will get even crunchier after it cools.

Yield: About 16 biscotti.