September 5, 2011

Crunchy Cinnamon-Orange Biscotti

Since I was under 10 years old I remember those special days when the house would smell like heaven. The almost enchanting aroma of the mixture of warm orange and cinnamon making its way through every room. It was when I knew I'd be welcomed with a fresh plate of my favorite orange biscotti. The taste is addictive and the bite is so crunchy!! Baked by Purita, practically the caretaker of our house who has been part of our family since I can remember. Purita learned a lot of her recipes from my mom, but was also working at a bakery before living with us, so naturally she had a couple tricks up her sleeve! 

I finally asked Purita to share the biscotti recipe with me and had the guts to try it. I should add that the first time I made it in my apartment, it was a complete flop, and I made what appeared to be bread. Of course I was experimenting and changed the ingredients list entirely. It took my friend Lamya around 3 minutes to swallow 1 bite before she could give me her opinion. By a minute 30 seconds of her chewing I already knew what I needed to know. I realized there's something different about the way Purita makes it: rather than mixing the ingredients to form a dough log which would be placed in the oven, her mixture comes out more like a batter which she bakes in a baking pan. 

So taking advantage of the fact that I'm in Abu Dhabi at my parents house with a kitchen complete with everything I'd need (including Purita), I decided to give the biscotti another go. My best friend also came over for lunch so we decided it would be fun. There aren't many ingredients and the main substitution was using honey instead of sugar. Why do I constantly need to come up with different recipes for foods we love? Because there are hundreds of websites that know how to cook up a storm using butter, sugar and other ingredients that I would prefer to do without. For that reason, I come up with recipes that either use very little or none of those. My desserts or meals have nothing to do with being lower in calories unless I state it, they're merely made with "better quality" ingredients as I like to put it. This view is definitely not understood by my father who dreams of butter; but when even he agrees something tastes good without it, I believe anyone can as well.

Note that I used a baking pan larger than I should have for the quantity I made so the end result came out quite thin (which is actually how I enjoy them). However, for the thicker genuine biscotti, I would use a loaf pan.

Below is the story of my favorite biscotti:

Buy it

mix it

pour it

bake it

flip it

cut it

bake it

eat it.

 For the exact recipe and directions, click below.

Mood: since it takes around an hour and a half to make, you should have the time and be relaxed; desserts don't like to be rushed.
Music: Frank Sinatra; takes me back every time.

                2 cups all purpose flour
                1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
                ¼ tsp salt
                2 tsp ground cinnamon
                ¾ cup Acacia Honey
                2 large eggs
                ½ cup canola oil
                5 tsp orange zest
                2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
                1 tsp vanilla extract
                2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional fairy dust)

Preheat oven to 350°F or 200°C.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, the baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl beat together the honey, eggs, oil, zest, orange juice and vanilla extract until well combined. In batches add the dry ingredients until the mixture is combined.
Transfer the batter to a parchment lined loaf pan around 8 x 4 inches or if you want to try them thin, I used a pan that was around 11 x 7 inches. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes. This is around the time your house or apt will start to smell of heaven. Lower the oven temp to 150°C then take out the pan and let cool for 15 minutes. Once cooled, flip it over on a cutting board and with a serrated knife, divide it into three parts and cut thin slices. A lot of people get fancy with their diagonal slices, I don’t. Like I mentioned, I prefer mine thin to thick but it’s up to your preference. Arrange back in the pan, sprinkle brown sugar on top if you want and bake another 5 – 10 minutes on each side until golden brown. It’s important to keep an eye on them at this point; if they’re thin they can burn easily since the oven is probably very hot despite cooling it. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then discover the sensational yummy crunch that they are!

Quantity: well over 60 thin biscottis. 


  1. Yum! I can definitely vouch for these having personally tried them out myself!

  2. We'll experiment with so many more recipes WHEN you move here :)