Vanilla Extract - Biscotti
Dessert by Ingredients
February 11, 2008
Extracts = liquid flavoring essences
concentrated flavoring agent
some (beef extract) – made by reducing a
liquid until it is a syrup
other (vanilla extract) – dissolving the
spice in alcohol
pure vanilla extract = 35% alcohol
Vanilla & Vanilla Extract
History of Vanilla
Origin: Mexico where Aztecs used it to flavor chocolate
Emperor Montezuma introduces it to Spanish Explorer
16th century: brought to Europe
Popular aristocratic drink: cacao beans with vanilla pods
1602: Queen Elizabeth I’s chemist suggests using it as
Today Madagascar is the world’s largest producer
Derived from orchids
The principal growing areas are
Madagascar, Indonesia, Mexico, Mauritius,
Tonga and Tahiti.
Vine- grows by climbing, but growers fold
over top to maintain height (stimulates
1 flower- 1 fruit with black seeds = seeds
give the vanilla flavor
Stage 1: Harvest - green & odorless
Stage 2: Killing-prevent further growth; sun,
Stage 3: sweating-held in hot temp, enzymes
process compounds for flavor
Stage 4: Drying to prevent rotting, lock in aroma
Stage 5: Grading sorted by quality
After 3-4 months of this process the beans,
brownish black in color, are then considered
cured and ready to be sold in the market.
Ways Vanilla is Used
Ice cream: default flavor =
Vanilla: synonym for plain
• The naturally sweet flavor of vanilla finds its perfect
match when paired with seasonal fruits.
•Vanilla brings out the round sweetness of the fruits.
•The organic, rich character of Madagascar Bourbon Pure
Vanilla helps to take the edge off of any acidity the fruit
Recipe for Vanilla Extract
Cut 6 vanilla beans in half
scrape vanilla beans
put beans in vodka and push until
Cover and set in lightless area
8 weeks later = vanilla extract. May add
Interesting Vanilla Facts
Vanilla originated in Mexico.
When the Spanish conquistador arrived in
Mexico they dubbed it vanilla or little sheath.
They brought it back to Europe and by the 1660s
it was a popular flavor used with chocolate.
By the 19th Century vanilla had established itself
as the most popular flavor in the ice-cream
Today world production of vanilla beans
averages between 2000-2400 metric tons per
Different Types of Extract
Almond Extract: almond oil + alcohol,
substitute with almond liqueur
Anise: tastes like licorice, used to flavor
cakes and cookies
Brandy/Rum: flavor of brandy/rum, w/o
alcohol-alcohol used, but not in end
Imitation vanilla: cheaper
Lemon/orange: make w. zest & vodka
Biscotti are a twice-baked,
oblong-shaped cookie from
The word biscottio, known as
biscotti today, is derived from
bis (twice) and cotto (cooked)
It derives from the custom of
baking cookie dough in long
slabs, cutting it into a third to a
half-inch thick, long cookies,
and baking them again
Bake twice to lose any excess
moisture which makes them
nice and crunchy.
Biscotti Cookie Cont’d
Biscotti originated in the region of Italy
known as Tuscany, in a city called Prato,
just 15 miles from Florence.
Tuscan biscotti were flavored with almonds
from almond groves of Prato.
Biscotti became a staple in the Tuscan
cities of Florence and Prato, and the Italian
In Prato the cookies were, and still are,
known as cantucci. “Cantucci di Prato”
Roman Legions, contemporary soldiers,
sailors and fisherman all appreciated their
long storage ability
Long before, biscotti was a pallid, dry
staple for nourishment.
Now Italian bakers create more flavorful
Their dry, crunchy texture was deemed to
be the perfect medium to soak up sweet
Thus biscotti became associated with
simple pleasures and joyous occasions.
Biscotti Cookie contd.
The history of biscotti in the United States
can be traced back to Christopher
Columbus, who needed a viable food
source that could resist moisture and mold
on overseas journeys
Types of Biscotti
They fall into two distinct categories: those made
with butter and those made without butter or any
The butter enhanced cookie results in a more
tender shortbread-like texture, while those
without butter are drier and harder
The butterless ones don't easily break when
dipped and are best served with a cup of coffee
Types of Biscotti Cont’d
Biscotti are classically
flavored with almonds,
hazelnut or anise seed
Also popular are dried
red tart cherries,
fennel or poppy seeds,
allspice, mace, citrus
zest, ground toasted
nuts, miniature dark or
white chocolate chips
How to bake your own Biscotti!
2 1/4c all-purpose flour - 2.25 cup 1c
white sugar - 1 cup
1t baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and
flour 1 large baking sheet.
Sift the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix the eggs and liquids in a separate
bowl. Gradually add liquids to the dry
ingredients, folding until dough is stiff. (Do
not over mix!!) The batter is super-sticky!
Stir in the optional ingredients (nuts,
chocolate, dried fruit, whatever!).
On a well-floured work-surface with floured
hands shape dough into four logs: 1.5 inches
wide, 15 inches long. Place them on the baking
sheet. (3 inches of space between logs).
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove baked logs
from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise
into 1/2 inch slices. Place back on cookie sheet,
sliced side down, and bake again for 15 minutes
or until they are golden brown. Flip over once in
the middle of this.