Aloha, Delicious!: Gingery Macadamia Biscotti

A few weeks ago I was looking through my cookbooks looking for a ginger cookie I could bring to an office holiday party, and Nick Malgieri's recipe for Gingery Macadamia Biscotti in Cookies Unlimited caught my eye. The concept of ginger biscotti was novel and intriguing to me. But what clinched the deal was the fact that the recipe calls for 10 ounces of macadamia nuts -- and I happened to have a 10-ounce bag that had been sitting around just waiting for the right recipe to come along.

The recipe requires a food processor, but no mixer. You combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, finely ground macadamia nuts, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, white pepper, ground cloves, and coarsely chopped macadamia nuts) in one bowl; combine the wet ingredients (eggs and honey) in another; and add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. You form the dough into two logs and bake them until they are risen and firm. After the logs are completely cool, you slice them, and then bake the cookies a second time until they are dry and crisp.
I baked the biscotti for the exact times specified in the recipe (a 30-minute first bake followed by a 15-minute second bake, both at 350 degrees), and I think that either the baking times are too long, the oven temperature is too high, or both. The logs of dough were already very dark after the first bake, and some of the edges became burned during the second bake. In the future I would probably shorten the first bake by about five minutes, and decrease the second bake oven temperature by 50 degrees.

That said, I loved these cookies. The ginger was very pronounced, and the cookies had quite a bit of heat -- I think the white pepper was a major contributor. Even though they were too dark and portions were borderline burnt, the biscotti had a nice crisp texture without being too tough; these don't require a dunk in coffee to soften them up (but they would hold up nicely if you are dunk inclined!). Also, I thought that the crunchy yet light texture of the macadamia chunks was terrific, and an interesting change of pace from the almonds and pistachios I typically use in biscotti.

I'm not a huge fan of macadamia nuts (I don't think there's anything wrong with them -- I just prefer almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts), but they are wonderful in these cookies. I definitely plan on making these biscotti again.

Recipe: "Gingery Macadamia Biscotti" from Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri, recipe available here.

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