*Information from Julie Sahni, Classic Indian Cooking
These little cookies aren’t quite your Nonna’s biscotti, but they’re not so far off, either. Laced with spices borrowed from classic Indian Chai Tea, they beg to be dunked in tea or coffee or moscato, just like Nonna did. This chai biscotti recipe makes enough to share, so wrap them up and be generous. ’Tis the season, after all.
Place a rack in the middle position of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt until combined.
Place sugar in a large bowl and whisk with eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, liqueur, and zest. Using a rubber spatula, fold in flour mixture until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms.
With floured hands, form two 12-inch logs on the prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Gently press and flatten the logs until they are about 1½ inches wide and 3/4 inches high. (Don’t worry about making these smooth; any lumps or bumps will disappear when baked.)
Brush the logs with egg white and sprinkle coarse sugar evenly over the tops.
Bake until lightly colored and the tops are beginning to crack, about 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking time. Transfer logs to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, cut each log into 1/2-inch slices on a slight diagonal. Place the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, turn slices over and bake 10 minutes longer until golden and crisp (cookies will crisp more as they cool). Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature. Serve aside a steaming drink for dunking.
Italian biscotti are “twice-baked,” first baked in a log shape, then sliced and baked again until dry and crunchy. They’re meant to be softened with a dip in coffee, tea, or sweet wine. The absence of butter in this recipe makes them especially crunchy and gives them a long shelf life.
In Indian cuisine, tea is often flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, sometimes with the addition of black pepper, ginger, coriander, or fennel. Known as Masala Chah, this combination of hot tea and spices warms the body and perfumes the air. *
For a variation, add 1/3 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut to the flour mixture. Omit the coarse sugar and instead sprinkle tops with more coconut (about 4 teaspoons).