My friend V. and I (along with our husbands) are entertaining our Italian tutor and her husband this weekend. Of course our menu is Italian and I’m sitting here thinking “are we crazy to try and cook Italian food for two people from Italy?”. I’ve actually cooked for our teacher before, but her husband owns an authentic Italian “bar” here in San Diego and I’m hoping he’ll be gentle with us! We’ve decided to go the easy route on dessert and let them bring gelato from their restaurant-Pappalecco.
Not being one to give up an opportunity to bake something, I thought we needed a little something to go along with their delicious gelato. I didn’t hesitate to turn to my favorite dessert cookbook Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma. I’ve baked most of the cookies in the book before, but there’s one that I’ve longed to try and so I made up my mind to go ahead and bake up a batch of Gina’s Coconut Shortbread. You’re probably thinking that it doesn’t sound very “Italian” and I agree, but if it’s good enough to serve at Babbo, where she is the pastry chef, it’s good enough for me. The cookies are not very sweet, with a hint of coconut and I think they’ll be perfect for dipping in gelato. I’m hoping they bring cioccolato or even nocciola (hazelnut).
Biscotti di Cocco
Biscotti is the Italian word for cookies
2-1/4 cups “00” flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups unsweetened shredded, dried coconut
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar for garnish
In a medium bowl mix together the “00” flour, cake flour, salt and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until creamy and light, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and the egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients and them in on low speed, followed by both kinds of coconut. Beat briefly on medium to fully incorporate the dry ingredients into the dough. Remove the dough from the bowl, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill until it is firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchments. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8″. Use a round or scalloped 1-/2″ cookie cutter to cut the cookies, then place them on the baking sheet, evenly spaced about 1/2″ apart. Gather the scraps together and repeat rolling and cutting. You made need to refrigerate the scraps before you roll them out. This dough tends to be sticky. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the raw sugar.
Bake the cookies until they are lightly golden brown, about 14-16 minutes., rotating the sheets halfway through the baking. Allow the cookies to cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets, then remove them to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes: 3-4 dozen cookies
I couldn’t find sweetened flaked coconut, so instead I used sweetened shredded coconut.
Check out my next post to hear more about these cookies.