Cornmeal-Nut Biscotti

Bad biscotti are really bad. In order for me to be interested in a dried-out cookie, it needs to be very special. This biscotti recipe from Claudia Fleming fits the bill. Please don’t substitute here, the genius is in the details. These are complicated, buttery and perfect with a cup of black tea. Having a jar full of these on the counter is immensely satisfying because I know that I have a snack (with that cup of tea) or a dessert (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). I also know that they’ll keep well. No rush. Savor the flavor.

Speaking of Claudia Fleming, when are they going to reprint The Last Course? With copies being sold online for hundreds of dollars, things are getting ridiculous. It remains one of my favorite books, but I want more people to be able to buy a copy without breaking the bank. Can we all start some sort of online campaign? The people demand a reprint!

And finally, tomorrow is the last day to vote for your favorite blogs in Saveur’s annual awards. I am proud to be included in the group of nominees. Everyone nominated deserves a vote, so give someone yours. It was a series of agonizing decisions when I filled out my ballot—so many impressive nominees. If I do say so myself (I do!) my category seems particularly awesome. In case you missed our exchanges on Twitter, we’ve collectively decided that the winner in my category has to cook dinner for their fellow nominees. Logistics to be determined, but that would be quite a dinner party. Thanks to everyone who has voted and left supportive comments in recent weeks, you’re the best.

Now, make some biscotti.

Cornmeal-Nut Biscotti (recipe from The Last Course by Claudia Fleming)

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 2 large eggs
  • Egg wash made with 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until they are lightly golden, 8-10 minutes. Let cool, keep oven on.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and add orange zest and rosemary. Allow to cool.

In the bowl of mixer, mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and anise seeds. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add the cooled butter mixture and mix to combine. Stir in the nuts. Let rest for a few minutes.

Form the dough into a log 2-inches wide and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the log with egg wash and bake until it is a deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 200°F.
Using a serrated knife, slice the log on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the biscotti on two parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until crisp, about 1 hour.

25 comments to “Cornmeal-Nut Biscotti”

  1. I love Biscotti – I’ve made so many versions of biscotti that I’ve lost track (my favorite is chocolate chips and a lot of orange zest) and this looks like a fantastic savory version of it. You guys rock!

  2. Sounds like a valuable cookbook to own, in more ways than one. This biscotti is different than any other biscotti recipe I have seen. At least I have never seen cornmeal used in biscotti. I think this one might be one to try for that reason alone.

    ~Brenda

  3. funny you wrote that – i yesterday had a coffee & on the side was a piece of biscotti that was absolutely dreadful. stale…massively eggy tasting & blurrr. Love your version…think it might restore to me what biscotti is meant to be! dayle

  4. I totally agree, your category is loaded with talent and you deserve the spot you received! Cheers! I love the idea of savory biscotti and am going to whip up a batch!

  5. I made a cornmeal biscotti with candied citrus peel last month that was out of this world! I love the crunch it gives the cookie. I definitely will try this version too.

  6. When I inherited my grandma’s copy of Lou Seibert Pappas’ Biscotti book many years ago, I went on a mad biscotti baking spree. They were the first thing I learned how to bake that made me feel like a pro, and I loved that these were buttery and rich rather than dry – something you COULD dip in your coffee but didn’t HAVE to. I even brought freshly baked biscotti to a job interview for a serving position at an Italian resto in Santa Cruz my freshman year.

    I am with you about Claudia’s book – I tried to purchase a copy a while back and was confounded as to how a book that all the bloggers talk about could be out of print. Um, hello?

    These biscotti look and sound heavenly- I’ve never seen that mixing technique before. I posted a recipe for rosemary pine nut biscotti a while ago, before ever seeing Claudia’s (as I couldn’t afford her book) and thought I was being so original. : ) Since you’re an Alice M fan, have you tried her olive oil biscotti yet?

    Thanks for another gorgeous post!

  7. your writings & photography are always so wonderful & i love re-creating your recipes …you inspire.
    the decision on who to vote for was quite easy for me, tim…yes, you are in awesome company & get your chef’s apron ready for all the cooking you will be doing!

    i, too had a hard time tracking down “the last course” but, found chef claudia @ the north fork table & inn (new york) & was able to purchase the book!

  8. Alanna- I haven’t tried those olive oil biscotti yet- should I? They sound great.
    Linda- Thanks for always being so supportive! And yes, the books had been available through North Fork Inn up until last year. I guess they sold out of the copies they had.

  9. I have never baked biscotti myself – shame on me! These look amazing, Tim – I love their golden color! And I love baking with cornmeal, too.

  10. I had no idea this book was out of print. I stumbled across it a few months ago in a kitchen shop and while it was expensive, it wasn’t quite $170! To be honest, I don’t use it nearly as much as I imagine some of your readers here would – I would be willing to sell it (from Canada), if anyone is interested.

  11. My Lord the idea of hundreds for a book on Amazon is insane. Is Random House merely idiots or nuts??? Abe Books has one for $174.95 btw…http://www.abebooks.com/book-search/title/the-last-course-the-desserts-of-gramercy-tavern/

  12. These look and sound terrific, but… no substitutions? That’s going to be tough. I guess I should try to just follow a recipe once in a while ;)

  13. Tim, I got my copy of Claudia’s book directly from her – from The North Fork, where she now works. She even signed it. Not sure if they still dot that, but it might be worth a shot. http://www.northforktableandinn.com

  14. sorry, meant *do* that, not *dot* that.

  15. Just lovely! I’ve never made biscotti with cornmeal but this sounds great.

  16. these biscotti have been our house biscotti for years, the thing we eat with coffee every morning. i just made my umpteenth quadruple batch last week (lovely to eat, AND they store forever).

    that said, i do fiddle a bit, doubling the nuts for extra crunch. but fleming’s original, amazing anise/orange/cornmeal/nut combination is a force of nature, no?

    and i totally ditto the reprint campaign. the last course is, hands-down, one of my favorite dessert cookbooks (the lemon curd, the chocolate/caramel tart, the panna cotta, and and and…) i was lucky to pick one up when it first went on sale, but surely the publisher can smell opportunity in this crazy used market?!

  17. I really love biscotti, and I’m totally in agreement that they’re great to have around the house.

    Interesting combo of spices in your recipe. I wouldn’t have thought to include rosemary.

    I am surprised to see butter in the recipe — To get that hard, crunchy texture, I’ve had better luck using eggs in lieu of butter.

  18. These were delicious! I agree with the above comment, I have had a hard time keeping the long term crunch in biscotti with butter (but honestly, who has these hanging around past an hour or so?). I just posted on a non-butter, cantucci type of biscotti that I created for my sister’s upcoming wedding.

  19. Wow.Preeeettty Peektures. Must. Eat. Biscotti.

  20. Hi! I love your blog and the pictures! Very inspirational.
    Tried these last weekend and the dough was really sticky. I formed it into loaves but it just went flat in the oven and then tasted of baking soda.. I guess less baking soda next time. But what to do about the stickiness? More cornmeal? or Flour?

    Annika

  21. Annika,
    The dough should be a little sticky, and it does flatten out in the oven–but I am surprised it tasted like baking soda. I can’t imagine why, that definitely wasn’t a problem for me. If you reduce baking soda you will likely get a flatter loaf. Sorry, it sounds like a disappointing experience. If you try again, I would just be sure to measure everything carefully and then if you’d like to try adding a little extra flour, you can do that. Good luck!

  22. I noticed there wasn’t any salt in this – do you think it would benefit from some? Mine’s in the oven right now.

  23. Hey Jamie- I didn’t think it needed salt, although it was something I wondered about too.

  24. hey Tim ~ PLEASE get Claudia (or the powers that be) to reprint that book!!! i have not been able to put my hands on a copy and was so disappointed to learn that the North Fork has sold out of all the remaining copies . . . i have been so tempted to lay out the $$$ to purchase a copy from those who have copies to sell . . . but just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it . . . yet . . .

  25. Hey Tim!
    Thanks for that! Willl try to be super precise next time and go easy on the baking soda! I could tell how they would be amazing once it works out!

    Thank yoU!
    Annika

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