This year, I wanted to include something savory in my treat bags, and I remembered this parmesan-black pepper biscotti I had bookmarked a while back. Savory biscotti is a nice switch from your standard sweeter biscotti, and something I don’t make nearly enough. The added bonus is that biscotti is very shelf-stable, making it a good option for treat bags and mailings. This time of year, everyone has tons of cookies to eat, so it’s nice to give them something that is a) not sweet and b) doesn’t have to be eaten in the next day or two for optimal flavor.
The only change I made to this was using Pecorino Romano over Parmesan (just a preference, and what I always keep in my fridge) and a peppercorn blend rather than just black pepper. In theory the peppercorn blend was a good and tasty idea. In practice, there were some flecks of green in the biscotti which alarmed me at first, until I realized they were pieces of green peppercorn. So you may want to warn people their biscotti isn’t spoiled or anything when you give it to them. :)
I did make the biscotti larger than the recipe suggested, and as a result I definitely got fewer biscotti (around 40). Originally, I grated twice as much cheese (in ounces), thinking I was going to double the batch (I didn’t). But, I definitely used quite a bit more than half my mixture when I was making the biscotti and measuring the cheese in cups. I know that normally weight measurements are far more accurate but in this case I think there would not have been enough cheese had I gone by the amount of ounces.
You really can’t go wrong with these biscotti – cheesy, buttery, and spicy. Great to eat with coffee in the morning, as a mid-day snack, or even with your soup at dinner.
Parmesan-Black Pepper (or, really Pecorino Romano-Peppercorn Blend) Biscotti
Adapted from Gourmet
1.5 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns or peppercorn blend
4 cups AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 (scant) tsp. salt
2.25 cups finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1.5 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into half inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
Pulse peppercorns in grinder until coarsely ground. In a food processor or large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper. Pulse in the butter with a food processor or, if you’re using a bowl with a pastry blender or your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and quarter (I divided it into thirds). Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log, about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch high (or to the size you want). Transfer logs to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart.
Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper. Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
Transfer a log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.