Baking the better biscotti

Tips for better biscotti baking

— If the dough is too sticky to work with, chill it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

— Wetting your hands makes it easier to form the dough logs.

— After the first baking, let the logs cool on the cookie sheet for about 20 minutes. Many recipes suggest cutting them into diagonal slices, then laying the slices flat on the cookie sheet. This requires you to flip over the slices midway through the second baking. An easier technique is to make straight slices so they can stand upright during the second baking, no flipping required.

— If you are going to put toasted hazelnuts into your biscotti, you’ll want to remove the skins. There are two ways to do this:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast hazelnuts on a cookie sheet for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the skins blister. Then place the nuts in a clean kitchen dish towel, wrap them up and let them sit for a minute or two to steam. Rub most of the skins off with the towel. (Don’t worry about the pieces that don’t come off.) Cool completely before chopping.

Or: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. On the stovetop, bring 2 cups of water to boil, then add 3 tablespoons baking soda and the hazelnuts. Boil for about 6 minutes, until the water turns black. Then pour the nuts into a colander and run cold water over them. Use your fingers to rub off the skins, then dry the nuts with a clean dish towel. Transfer the nuts to a baking pan and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes. Cool before chopping.

Emily Dwass