Grandma's Milk Cookies (Biscotti al Latte della Nonna)
This is such an easy recipe.
In Sicily we call these "biscotti da inzuppo" (lit. "soaked biscuits") to describe a category rather than a specific recipe, that is the kind of cookies you would soak in milk - one of our most typical breakfasts.
We call them biscotti della nonna (grandma's cookies) I guess because it's an old recipe, so something our grandmas would make, and as I said, they are best dipped in milk.
Their characteristic, delicate lemon aroma immediately brings back childhood memories for me. I wanted to stick to the classic recipe, but I made one major change - in Sicily we generally use lard instead of butter in many of our cookies (including these) and other desserts like cannoli, which unfortunately makes them non-vegetarian.
Lard gives a particular structure to the dough, decreasing its humidity and consequently giving it a unique crispiness. For this reason it is used for desserts that need a bit of crunch such as shortcrust pastry, biscuits, cannoli and sometimes, puff pastry.
To replace lard, I find that coconut butter has a very similar consistency and gives these cookies the same crunchiness, while also adding a very mild coconut aroma to them.
So, without further ado, here's how I made these cookies.
250g 00 flour (you can also use all purpose flour)
50g of coconut butter
80g of sugar
Untreated lemon zest
8g of baking powder
70ml of milk
Add the flour and softened coconut butter to a bowl and start kneading with your hands until you obtain a uniform sandy consistency.
Next, add the sugar, egg, lemon zest, and mix. Dissolve the baking powder in the milk and add this mixture to the other ingredients.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead to form a smooth ball. Then cover with a towel and let it rest for half an hour at room temperature.
Divide the dough in 25-30 equal balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten them a little. Make sure you leave a little space between them as they will swell up considerably during baking.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 20 minutes.
Allow them to cool completely as they will become crunchier when cooled down. Enjoy with a glass of hot or cold milk. Store them in an airtight container for up to 10 days.