One of my cousins-in-law, Jeff, is the man behind Burning Asphalt hot sauces. When I started this blog he asked if I wanted any spicy cookie recipes. That got me thinking.
There are those that like spicy and those that don’t and I definitely fall into the pro-spicy camp (or, as my son says, “Team Spicy”). In our kitchen you’ll find lots of different hot sauces, chili powders and dried chili peppers, all of which get used often. A spicy cookie? Brilliant!
I’m still waiting for those Burning Asphalt recipes (hint, hint), but in the meantime I came up with a couple of my own spicy cookies. Here is the first – chili biscotti. Note: These have a bit of spice, but aren’t very hot. You have a few options to increase the heat. Much of the “hot” in hot peppers is in the veins and seeds. If you don’t want to change the flavor, but want to add heat, you can skip de-veining the peppers. You could also substitute chipotle chili powder for the chili powder (which would also add some nice smokiness), add some cayenne pepper, or increase the amount of Tabasco sauce.
- 1 dried ancho chili pepper, seeded and de-veined
- 3 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, divided
- 1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- Put a rack in the middle of your oven and pre-heat it to 350 degrees, F.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Start soaking the ancho in hot water to rehydrate it.
- Chop the cheese into pieces and let it chill in the refrigerator while you’re getting together the rest of the ingredients.
- Toast the pine nuts with 1/2 teaspoon of the chili powder in a dry skillet. Set aside. Tip: Keep an eye on these and keep stirring – they go from toasted and delicious to burnt and bitter very quickly.
Make the dough
- Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, the rest of the chili powder and the smoked paprika in a bowl and whisk to mix. Set aside.
- Pat the ancho dry, chop it into pieces and set it aside.
- Put the cheese in a food processor fit with a steel blade and grind it finely.
- Add the flour mixture to the processor and pulse it a few times to combine.
- Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the processor. Pulse it until it is thoroughly combined – when you pinch some of it between your fingers it should hold its shape.
- Add the eggs and Tabasco sauce and pulse several times.
- Add the chopped ancho and pulse it until the dough forms into a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and flatten it out. Put the pine nuts on top of the dough,and fold it over on itself several times until the nuts are incorporated evenly into the dough.
Shape the dough
- Divide the dough into two sections.
- Form each section into a log about 12 inches long and 1 inch high.
- Place the logs on the prepared cookie sheet, keeping 6 inches of space between them.
- Bake the logs until they’re firm, about 15-20 minutes.
- Cool for 20 minutes on the cookie sheet.
- Slice the logs on a diagonal into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick cookies.
- Place them on the cookie sheet (which should still be lined with parchment).
- Bake for 6 mintues and then turn them over.
- Bake for another 5-10 minutes (15-20 minutes in total), until they’re firm and a bit crisp. They’ll crisp up more as they cool.
I think these biscotti are great with a glass of wine or hard cider or as an accompaniment to a bowl of soup or salad. Tip: The biscotti are better when they’re crisp. If you’re not serving them the day you make them, toast them briefly before serving.
Yield: 4-5 dozen, depending on how thinly you slice the biscotti