These biscotti use an interesting technique to create a tender, yet crunchy biscotti - a potent dose of sour milk! Usually the proportions for homemade sour milk (typically used as a substitute to buttermilk) are a cup of milk to a tablespoon of lemon juice (or vinegar) - however, this recipe uses an equal ratio of milk to juice.
After scanning the ingredient list a couple times, I also noticed that the recipe did not call for any leavening from baking powder or baking soda - since every other biscotti recipe we made uses it, I decided to add a bit of each in. To add sweetness in this biscotti, brown sugar is used, rather than granulated sugar, which added a rich depth. To bring a little citrus zing in the background, a bit of grated fresh orange zest is also tossed in. While being baked twice gives the biscotti crisp texture, to bulk up that crunch is the addition of stone-ground cornmeal in place of a portion of the flour.
Once the biscotti had gone through their first baking, cooled slightly and then sliced into long fingers, I stood the slices upright back onto the baking sheet for their second bake, rather than laying them cut side down. I've found this to be the easiest way as it allows air to circulate both sides of the cookies to dry them out - besides, who wants to bother with turning very hot cookies halfway through? For a little flare, once the biscotti had cooled, we drizzled one flat side of each cookie with a bit of melted bittersweet chocolate - you could probably increase the chocolate a bit and dip the bottoms too if you wanted a more chocolate punch!
While they are naturally crunchy by design, the stone-ground cornmeal added an extra pleasurable bite that we both enjoyed. Even though they are crisp, they did have a tender aspect due to the addition of butter and that unique and strong soured milk mixture. I was planning on bringing some over to the neighbors to share, but Jeff has given the big veto stamp on that idea as he wants to horde these for himself! Humph!