Pure Italian Sweets

By Bateson, Betsy Reynolds | Sunset, May 1994 | Go to article overview

Pure Italian Sweets


Bateson, Betsy Reynolds, Sunset


Tradition and olive oil enrich these cookies

A MEAL IN GEMMA Sciabica's Modesto home isn't complete without a homemade cookie. Sciabica bakes daily, using a wealth of family recipes in addition to those she's developed on her own. It's only natural that she adds olive oil to her cookies for rich, full flavor--the Sciabica family has been producing the oil in California's Central Valley for more than 50 years.

Although cookies are commonplace in the Sciabica household, these delicious interpretations of traditional Italian favorites are pretty enough for entertaining. Most often, Sciabica serves them with seasonal fruits and a cup of coffee--milk for the grandchildren. But on special occasions, and after dinner, she pairs them with a sparkling wine or sweet dessert wine.

Chocolate Biscotti

3 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled 3 large eggs 1/3 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons each orange juice and rum 1 tablespoon grated orange peel 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup semisweet chocolate baking chips 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds 12 ounces white chocolate 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated and brown sugars, baking powder, and salt. Add melted unsweetened chocolate, eggs, oil, juice, rum, peel, and vanilla; stir to combine. Add baking chips and nuts; mix until dough is well blended.

Quarter dough; shape into 4 logs, each about 2 1/2 inches wide by 14 inches long. Place 2 logs on each of 2 lightly oiled (10 by 15 inch) baking pans. Bake logs in a 350 |degrees~ oven until just firm to touch, about 20 minutes. Cool logs slightly in pans; using a serrated knife, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Place slices cut side down on pans; bake until crisp, about 15 minutes more, Cool cookies.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler melt white chocolate and shortening over hot water, stirring until smooth (or heat in a nonmetal bowl in a microwave oven on 100 percent power for 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval, until soft and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes total). Dip 1 end of each cookie about 1 inch into white chocolate to coat. Lay cookies on wire racks until firm; chill to speed process. Serve, or wrap airtight to store up to 2 days; freeze for longer storage. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Per cookie: 100 cal. (46 percent from fat); 1.4 g protein; 5.1 g fat (1.9 g sat.); 13 g carbo.; 51 mg sodium; 8.9 mg chol.

Poofs

About 2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons anisette liqueur, or 1 teaspoon anise extract and 11/2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. …

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