Cookies are a favorite at the ranch. We serve them at some of the tours that are conducted for visitors and, of course, for dessert. These have a sprightly flavor thanks to fresh lemon zest, lemon oil, and a good splash of lemon-flavored vodka, which you can easily make at home or buy. Once the vodka has steeped, I like to store it in the freezer: the flavor stays fresh, and the vodka is always ready for making a great-tasting martini. Pure lemon oil is just that, oil extracted from lemon zest, rather than lemon extract, which is lemon oil mixed with alcohol. It is perishable, however, so always store it in the refrigerator.–Gerald Gass
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 2 H
- Makes about 36 cookies
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon oil such as Boyajian brand
- 1/4 cup lemon vodka or limoncello
- 1. Sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer at high speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light in color, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the lemon zest, lemon oil, and vodka or limoncello. Using a wooden spoon or the hand mixer at low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing well. (If the dough is incredibly crumbly, you can add a little cold water, a few drops at a time, until it comes together. You’ll probably need no more than 2 tablespoons.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- 2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a baking sheet and dust it lightly with cornmeal, or line it with a silicone baking sheet.
- 3. Divide the dough in half. Using your hands and working on a lightly floured surface, form each half into a log 9 inches long by 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Place the logs on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them well apart. Bake for 30 minutes. They will be very pale in color.
- 4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and reduce the oven heat to 300°F (150°C). When the logs are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a cutting board and cut on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick or, if thinner biscotti are desired, . Place the slices cut side down on the baking sheet.
- 5. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake the cookies for 15 minutes. Turn them over and continue baking until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Recipe Testers Reviews
I love biscotti. I was a little unsure how these would turn out with the lemon flavor but they were so good! Just the perfect amount of lemon. It was there but not overbearing. Just right!
I used limoncello. I had to bake them a little longer on the second side. Otherwise these are perfect little nuggets of deliciousness. Also, they go perfectly with a cup of Earl Grey.
Biscotti are usually quite dry, and they are great to accompany with drinks, where they are dipped. The Italians eat them with a Tuscan wine, the Vin Santo. But they are perfect to accompany with tea or coffee. The use of cornmeal in this recipe makes these biscuits a little softer and the lemon zest, as well as the oil and Limoncello, give these small biscuits a very pleasant flavor.