These spicy Italian Piparelli are among the best biscotti I have tasted in quite a while.
Perfectly firm and crunchy, these cookies don’t fall apart when dunked into your tea or coffee. Not to mention that the warm dunking brings to life the aroma and flavour of the spices.
What to dunk in?
I’ve been dunking away since I was a small child probably a toddler. Dunking biscuits and cookies in my warm Milo (which is a delicious malted chocolate drink loved by many Australians) is one of my first childhood memories. And I vividly remember my late mum having a warm cup of milky coffee and dunking biscuits ready for me as I arrived home from school. Occasionally, I like to dunk in a little glass of liqueur. Just occasionally(wink, wink). In fact, I’ve never stopped dunking. Are you a dunker? What do you like to dunk and what’s your liquid of choice?
About these Piparelli Cookies
Piparelli cookies are favoured in Messina, Sicily, during Lent when Catholics are supposed to make a sacrifice or give something up. These cookies have very little fat and only use egg whites but they are so delicious that they can be found year round. I first came across Piparelli when a wonderful Sicilian baker and his wife opened up a Pasticceria in our northern Australian town. While Massimo baked amazing delights these Piparelli remained my favourites. Of course, feel free to omit the candied orange peel if you don’t like it or adjust the spices. Be sure to cut Piparelli thinner that the usual biscotti or the result will be too hard.
Even though this is the last week of Lent, Piparelli can be baked anytime. And as with all biscotti (twice cooked cookies) Piparelli will store well. What are you going to dunk your Piparelli into?
Piparelli ( Spicy Italian Cookies)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed firmly
- 1 cup honey
- 2 egg whites kept separate
- 3 cups flour plain or all purpose
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons candied orange peel chopped
- 1 cup unblanched almonds coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 180C/375F and line baking tray with paper.
- Using a stand mixer or by hand, beat butter with brown sugar and honey. Add one egg white and mix well.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Stir into butter mixture until combined and no longer sticky. Mix in orange peel and almonds.
- Turn onto floured surface. Knead briefly and lightly.
- Divide dough into 3 even portion. Form into logs about 20cm/8in long and 2.5cm/1in thick. Place on line baking tray allowing room to spread a little. Beat remaining egg white a little then use it to brush the tops of the logs.
- Bake in preheated oven 25 minutes or until firm to touch.
- Remove from oven and cool to 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 160C/325F.
- Slice as thinly as you can (about 3mm/1/8in) and lay on baking sheets.
- Return to oven for 15-20 minutes to dry out. They will crisp as they cool so don't overbake them.
- Cool on wire rack.