In a recent post, I mentioned that I had been on a biscotti kick. I baked several different types over the holidays, all sweet, made with sugar and various types of nuts. But in the comment section, thanks to a fellow blogger, I got wind of a different type of biscotti made with cheese and pepper that sounded too intriguing to forget. I love it when things that you expect to be simply sweet are turned into something savoy instead — like the sage macaron I had for lunch today.
I googled the recipe reviews for the link that she gave me (Parmesan and black pepper biscotti) and it sounded like a winner. However, I didn’t happen to have any Parmesan cheese at my house and I had just polished off the last of the pecorino, which is my go-to substitute. But I did, thanks to my stepdad who is also a cheese fanatic, have a huge hunk of two-year aged white cheddar from Wisconsin that was begging to be used in something fun.
I’m sure I could have switched out the cheddar in the original recipe just fine but I thought I’d do some additional internet digging to see what else was out there. And I stumbled upon what seemed like the perfect fit — a recipe from the famed Mark Bittman for Cheddar and Cayenne Biscotti.
I ran to the kitchen so fast, I practically hurt myself!
But it was all so worth it…
Now in case you’re wondering what to dunk your savory biscotti in, do as the Italians do. In Italy biscotti is usually dipped into wine rather than coffee. I didn’t have any Vin Santo hanging out at my house, but I did have a lovely bottle of dessert wine from Argyle Winery in Oregon.
The only things I’d do different next time would be to bump up the cayenne just a bit (maybe a heaping 1/4 tsp) and to make up a batch of tomato soup because these would be fantastic dipped in a steamy bowl of tomato goodness. They reminded me a super-crunchy cheddar goldfish cracker — an adult version, with just a hint of spice.
Trust me — whether you dip them in soup, wine or just eat them on their own, these really are a treat. Just be warned the recipe only makes about 16 pieces — so you might just want to double it!