The Softer Side of Biscotti: Banana Bread Biscotti

There were so many baking cookbooks released last fall that I'm still catching up. I finally got around to getting a copy of Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson. I don't follow Joy the Baker and I don't have her previous cookbook -- but I had heard a lot of good things about her new book, so I decided to take the plunge.

It so happens that we had a few ripe bananas on hand as I was trying to select my first recipe from the book, so I decided to make Joy's recipe for "Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bread Biscotti." I love crunchy cookies and I have always loved biscotti. Almond biscotti are probably my favorite (but then again, almond is my all-time favorite flavor across the board, not just for biscotti), and I've made many other varieties (e.g., hazelnut, pistachio, ginger, chocolate chip) -- but never banana. So I was intrigued.

To make the biscotti batter, you cream softened butter with sugar; add mashed banana, egg, and vanilla; and add the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt). You form the dough into a log, brush the dough with egg white, and sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar before baking.
The recipe headnote advises that these biscotti are softer than traditional ones and adds that, "You can choose to bake them once for a soft cookie feel, or twice for a bit more bite." Since I love crunch, I wasn't going to stop with a single bake. Plus, I don't think a cookie can accurately be described as biscotti if it's not baked twice. So after my logs of dough were golden and firm to the touch, I cooled them slightly, sliced them, and put the sliced cookies back in the oven for a second bake to crisp them up. I was in a rush, so I skipped the final step in the recipe of dipping the ends of the cooled cookies in melted dark chocolate. 

Even with the second bake, this cookie was not as crunchy as I would have liked. It was definitely drier than a normal cookie, but just not as crisp as other biscotti I've made. The cinnamon-sugar coating on top made a bit of a mess, because the cookies shed sugar everywhere. But they were pretty darn tasty. I thought that the cinnamon flavor was at the forefront (there is cinnamon in the dough as well as sprinkled on top with the sugar), with the banana playing more of a supporting role.

And quite a few of my tasters went bananas for these biscotti; I definitely consider the recipe a success. I think that the addition of chocolate would be a nice touch, so if I make these again, I wouldn't skip the dip. Some toasted walnuts might be good, too. These cookies didn't hold up very well after a few days -- I suppose I could have tried re-crisping them in the oven to revive them. But they were great while they lasted!

Recipe: "Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bread Biscotti" from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson.

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