Excellent Biscotti; Even Better News

October 2, 2008

I have a go-to savory biscotti recipe and you’ll just have to believe that I’ve been feeling bad for quite some time that I haven’t told you about it yet. But, it’d been blogged about elsewhere and, well, I never got around to it. But I can more than make up for it with these delightful biscotti, which are also savory and happen to be loaded with aged gouda and studded with bits of walnuts. After one batch, they have displaced my previous go-to and I can tell already that they’ll grace many book club meetings and cocktail parties in my future.

They are compact and crunchy and golden, which is to say nothing of their incredible flavor: full, warm and toasted. The flavor was awfully comforting and hauntingly familiar and, after thoughtfully munching on more biscotti than I care to share, I finally put my finger on what they reminded me of. Cheez-its. And I mean that in the very best way possible. It’s also the first biscotti recipe I’ve seen that calls for yeast—an addition I initially questioned, but ultimately praised once I tried the crisp exterior and softer middle that it created. But all this said, I could hardly care less about this recipe right now. And I’ll tell you why …

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Because I found out yesterday that I PASSED THE BAR EXAM, that’s why! Which means that I am more than a little preoccupied and not even these biscotti can keep my focus. Which means I am officially a lawyer. Which means that the incessant self doubt of the last two months is over. Finished. No more. And all that means that I can now start worrying about the important things in life: the fate of the 2008 Cubs, the locations of the best lunch spots near my new office, the menu for tomorrow night’s dinner.

Aged Gouda Biscotti with Walnuts
Food & Wine

1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
8 ounces aged Gouda (preferably 4 years), shredded (2 cups)
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast with 1/2 cup of the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and 3/4 cup of the flour to form a sponge; cover and let stand until billowy, about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups of flour with the Gouda, walnuts and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water; add the butter and stir until a dough is formed.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes; divide into thirds. Roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch log about 1 1/2 inches thick. Arrange the logs on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Loosely cover with lightly moistened paper towels and plastic wrap. Let stand for about 45 minutes, until risen. Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the plastic wrap and paper towels and bake the logs for about 35 minutes, until they are golden and puffed and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 205°. Let the logs cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300° and position 2 racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Transfer the logs to a work surface. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs crosswise 1/3; inch thick. Arrange the slices cut side up on 2 baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden and crisp; flip the biscotti halfway through and shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and let cool completely before serving.

25 Responses to “Excellent Biscotti; Even Better News”

  1. Congratulations! And just think, no need to bribe anyone with biscotti, either!

  2. katie Says:

    congratulations!!! 🙂

  3. Monica Says:

    Clap! Clap! Clap! I’m so happy for you. You must feel great.

  4. eggsonsunday Says:

    Way to GO, Kristin!!! Yayyyy! (Oh, and these biscotti are going on my must-try list…they sound intriguing and delicious. Plus I love gouda.) –Amy

  5. Whitney Says:

    CONGRATS!!!!!!!! I was actually thinking about you yesterday since I know the IL bar results came out. I really hope to be in your shoes in 364 days!

    I hope that you are doing something this weekend to celebrate and maybe the Cubbies will play better in game 2.

    You should now sign off every post with…Kristin at Our Kitchen Sink, Esq.

  6. jen Says:

    Congratulations! How exciting.
    I’ve never ventured to try baking biscotti, I will keep these in a reserve to try surely. 🙂

  7. Amanda Says:

    How fantatastic! I had NO doubt that you could it though. Anyone who could make fabulous gouda biscotti and ice cream cakes and yummy granola bars can pass the bar exam 🙂

  8. Kelly Says:


  9. mimi Says:

    congrats! and gorgeous biscotti. i’ve been intrigued by savory biscotti since i saw that same smitten kitchen post. i think i’m going to have to try both now!

  10. gkbloodsugar Says:

    Good for you!

    Not enough savoury Biscotti, I think. So thanks for these.

  11. Dawn Says:

    YOU ARE A ROCK STAR! Congratulations on passing the bar. It’s such a great feeling, isn’t it? When I quit my job after 10 years to attend law school, almost everyone thought I was crazy. “You’ll hate it.” “You have a great job already.” etc., etc. Well, they were wrong. The law has been a great profession for me for the last six years, and I have no regrets. I hope it brings you as much satisfaction as it has me! (But not so much that you give up blogging…) 😉

    I adore biscotti, and made three different kinds for gifts last Christmas (along with homemade granola and homemade marshmallows – fun and YUM). But, I’ve never tried a savory biscotti recipe. Can’t wait!

  12. Lori Says:

    Congratulations! Its so funny when you hear great news like that you switch into “super-active-I-am-on-top-of-the-world” mode. DOnt yah wish every day could be like those days. Good for you. I know it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice to be where you are at today!

    And the biscotti… well it looks like it could put me and my husband in the ‘mode’!

  13. Melissa Says:

    WAY.TO.GO. You’re amazing! Warmest congratulations to you. 🙂

  14. shelly Says:

    Wow, gorgeous blog. I am looking forward to trying out some of your recipes. Your photographs are simply delicious to look at.

  15. suzannemarya Says:

    Congratulations, Kristin Esq.!!! You must be ecstatic! Go Dodgers.

  16. grace Says:

    congrats, congrats, congrats! celebrate like mad. 🙂

  17. nicole Says:

    CONGRATS!!! Enjoy every last bite of these sure-to-be-delicious cookies 🙂

  18. GS Says:

    All your hard work has paid off…congratulations!

  19. Alanna: Yes, I hear bribes pose a bit of a problem with the Character & Fitness portion of the Bar Exam. : )

    Katie: Thanks!

    Monica: Thank you!

    Amy: Have you ever tried aged gouda? I hadn’t. It’s sooo good. It’s got a parmigiano-like texture and butteriness, but it’s flavor is fuller and warmer, I think. I hope you try these!

    Whitney: Ugh, no dice for the Cubs. It’s been a couple sad nights at our house.

    jen: Thanks! These are a little more involved (because of the yeast) than most biscotti recipes, but worth it.

    Amanda: Aww, thank you. : )

    Kelly: Thanks!

    mimi: I think I’d like to add some black pepper (or maybe a pinch or two of cayenne?) to this recipe next time I make it—to sort of combine the two recipes.

    gkbloodsugar: Thanks!

    Dawn: Wow — that’s quite an array of Christmas goodies. I am hoping to do lots of baking this year too.

    Lori: Thank you!

    Melissa: Thank you!

    Shelly: Thanks!

    Suzy: Thank you! I will forgive the Dodgers reference. For now.

    grace: Thanks! I have and I plan to continue to do so.

    nicole: Thanks!

    GS: Thank you!

  20. Caroline Says:

    Congrats! What an accomplishment!
    Love biscotti….never heard of a savory recipe! How about this dipped in a nice, tomato soup.

  21. Caroline: Thanks! And about the tomato soup dipping: YES!

  22. grandma Says:

    from grandma, congratulations! i am so proud that i feel that i should take out an ad in the paper. your biscottti looked good and your pictures are great. i probably wont make it because yeast and i dont get along. remember my first rolls! love grandma

  23. amylouwho Says:

    I’m behind on my reading! I just saw this – Congrats!! I’m sure you must feel relief now that it’s over.

    And that biscotti looks delish!

  24. Ali Says:

    Still So Proud Of You!!! Now you can get me out of anything 🙂

  25. grandma: Thank you!!!! I love that you commented. Keep ’em coming …

    amylouwho: Thanks!

    Ali: Well, almost anything. Let’s not press our luck …

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