Crispy, crunchy, perfect for dipping. Zucchini Carrot Biscotti with Walnuts are a flavorful salute to the end of summer and beginning of fall. Enjoy with your beverage of choice, or just by themselves..
The making of Zucchini Carrot Biscotti with Walnuts
Fall is in the air.
Well, here in Sonoma County we are having our Indian summer (are we allowed to say that anymore? Indian summer?) experiencing our last warm days readying ourselves for the long cold winter. And while everyone's mind is turning to pumpkins and apples and all those delicious fall fruits and veggies, I still have some lingering zucchini growing in the garden. While I've had enough zucchini soup, zucchini spaghetti, zucchini saute, and zucchini chips, to last me until at least next March, I don't like my veggies to go to waste. zucchini cupcakes are always a sweet treat using zucchini, but I thought how about zucchini cookies? Or better yet, zucchini biscotti.
Yes, zucchini biscotti, those would be perfect to dip into a nice warm cappuccino. OR, how about a Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte? That fall specialty that shows up each autumn?
Yes, Zucchini Carrot Biscotti with Walnuts is the PERFECT fall dipping cookie!
What is Biscotti?
Biscotti originated in the Italian city of Proto. These twice-baked oblong "cookies" or biscuits as they are known in Italy are dry and crunchy which makes them perfect for dipping into liquid. This recipe for Zucchini Carrot Biscotti with Walnuts lends itself to coffee drinks, as well as a nice cold glass of milk. Or, do as the Italians do and dip it into a nice Vin Santo, or what we refer to as a late harvest or "sticky" wine.
The double baking process is the key to a good biscotti. After forming the logs and baking the first time, for about 35 minutes, you need to cool the log down and then, using a serrated knife, cut them at an angle, into about ½ inch slices. The second cook will get them nice a dry and crunchy.
Zucchini and Carrots Lindy?
I decided to add carrot into my mix as I liked the flecks of color and sweetness they provide.
But the zucchini is the star.
Because biscotti is a dry, crunchy cookie, I thought it best to keep the ingredients to the dryer side of the scale. Zucchini is known to be extremely moist so the first step is to remove as much of the moisture as I could. I did this by placing the shredded zucchini into a clean tea towel (dish towel) and then twisting both ends, in opposite directions until the zucchini was wrung out, completely drying it. Carrots are pretty dry to begin with so they were fine just shredded. Toss them together in a bowl.
Olive Oil in Baking
I cook a lot with olive oil. Many of them are very mild in flavor and are a perfect healthy oil to keep in your diet. Do not use a richly flavored, grassy, or peppery oil. Save those for finishing dishes and making salad dressing. If you don't have a mild olive oil, substitute another vegetable oil, I prefer grapeseed oil, but any oil you use will do the job.
When baking, don't worry about over-mixing when creaming together the sugar/oil (or butter). You really can't over-mix and you want it fluffy with the sugar fully incorporated.
When adding the eggs, do so one at a time. I like to put my extract into my eggs since it all gets added at or about the same time, and there have been times when I forgot all about the vanilla. I'm not going to forget my eggs, so it's a safe place to store your extract.
This precise baking recipe has an imprecise measurement of flour - from 3 ½ to 4 cups. There's a reason for this and I'll explain here...
- The amount of moisture remaining in the zucchini will impact how wet the dough is.
- You want a fairly firm dough, but a loose dough can work as well.
- With a looser dough, you can simply spoon it along the center of the parchment paper and it will spread on its own, your cookie will be a bit more delicate. With a denser dough, you will need to use your well-floured fingers to pat the dough down into about a 3-inch high mound. It will still spread a bit, but not much.
Either way, it will yield a nice, crunchy cookie.
The spices are your regular fall spices; cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, all-spice. You can use them or, do as I often do and use pre-made "pumpkin pie" spice. It contains these spices and more. All the flavor will work here and not everyone keeps a full spice rack. Pumpkin spice does a good job in a lot of situations where you want these fall spice flavors. And it's all in one place.
Nuts, of course, are optional.
In your recipe maybe but not in mine.
I love nuts and they do add a healthy fat. I chose walnuts, but pecans, hazelnuts, or even almonds would all work nicely. Just remember to ALWAYS toast your nuts.
Raw nuts taste raw..
Some recipes will tell you to toast your nuts in a dry pan over a medium flame. I find this method to cook the nuts unevenly, with some being close to burnt while others remain raw. To properly toast nuts, spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 350º F oven for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring them once or twice. Do keep an eye on them as nuts go from toasted to burnt pretty quickly. Use your nose, you will be able to smell them when they are ready. Let them cool slightly then coarsely chop.
Zucchini Carrot Biscotti with Walnuts
Because biscotti are very dry cookies, they store well. Simply keep them in an airtight container. They should keep for at least a few weeks, perhaps up to a month.
So bring it on fall. I got my biscotti, I got my latte, I got my blanket. And of course, a good psychological thriller to read. I'm ready to hunker down.
Zucchini Carrot Biscotti with Walnuts
- 2 cups loosely packed shredded zucchini about 1 large
- 1 cup shredded carrot about 1 large
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup mild olive oil or other vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs = 5.25 ounces
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 ½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground all-spice
- ½ cup chopped toasted walnut pieces
- Heat oven to 350°f.
- Place parchment paper on 2 cookie sheets (jelly roll pan) and set aside.
- Take the shredded zucchini and wrap it firmly in a tea towel, twist the towel to release the juice from the zucchini. When the zunnini is very dry, place in a bowl with the shredded carrot and set-aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and oil, mix on high speed, or medium speed if using a stand mixer, for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to medium, or low, and add the dry ingredients, mixing until well blended and you have a fairly dense dough. Stir in the zucchini/carrot mixture along with the walnut pieces. Mix until incorporated.
- Split the dough in two. Place each piece in the center of the parchment. Using very well-floured hands (the dough will be sticky) shape the dough into 2 evenly shaped logs (about 12 by 1/12 inches). Bake for 35 minutes; (the dough will spread as it cooks) remove to a rack to cool. When the logs are cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board and cut, crosswise and at a slight angle, into ½ inch slices. Lay the slices back onto the cookie sheet; return to the oven and bake an additional 15 - 20 minutes, or until the slices are firm when gently pressed. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.