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Biscotti:

Twice-Cooked Delights

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Antonio Mattei's Biscotti: With Vinsanto

Antonio Mattei's Biscotti: With Vinsanto

© Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com
Biscotti have come a long way -- the word means twice-cooked, and derives from the custom of baking cookie dough in long slabs, cutting it into half-inch thick cookies, and heating them again to dry them out, probably so they would keep better. There has always been some variation in the way biscotti were made from place to place, and even now what you find in the shop of a Milanese baker will differ considerably from that of her colleague in Reggio Calabria.

What you will find in the aisles of the supermarkets of the two cities, on the other hand, will be roughly the same -- there has been a tremendous increase in the variety of commercially prepared biscotti, almost all of which are distributed nationally, and many of which closely resemble the commercially prepared cookies of other countries.

What, you wonder, about home-made biscotti? The variety of the industrial bakers really hasn't trickled over into the home, in large part because most Italians prefer to visit their local baker rather than fire up the oven when they want something to take when invited out, and peruse the supermarkets for snacking material. This doesn't mean that we never bake cookies, just that the number of traditional recipes is relatively small.

Before we get to Biscotti Recipes (sensu strictu, i.e. recipes that include the word biscotto in the title,
A Visit to Prato's Biscottificio Mattei, Where it All Began. All Manner of Cookies and other treats.

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