Don’t they say necessity is the mother of invention?
These biscottis were devised after I realized that it was a good idea for me to consume fortified cream of wheat on a regular basis, due to its iron-rich component.
However, the thought of starting the day with a soupy porridge was not all that attractive.
A biscotti that one could (or not) dip into a hot cup of good Italian coffee or a cappuccino, on the other hand, sounded a lot more palatable.
Here is a cream of wheat based biscotti that is extra crunchy and brittle, flavored with a typical Lebanese pastry spice, mahlab and sprinkled with a no less typical topping for baked goods, toasted sesame seeds.
Feel free to use cinnamon or any other spice that you love and vary the ingredients that are mixed in as well. You can also use pearl sugar for the topping.
- 3 Large eggs
- 3/4 cup raw (turbinado) sugar (or white sugar)
- 1 cup of cream of wheat cereal
- 1 cup of flour
- 3 Tablespoons of milk powder
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of mahlab
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 3/4 cup of golden raisins
- 3/4 cup of roasted pecans, chopped coarsely
- 1/3 cup of toasted sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place the eggs in a mixing bowl with the sugar; beat lightly with a whisk to combine well; place the bowl over a saucepan filled halfway with simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the mixing bowl does not touch the water or the eggs will cook in no time. Whisk gently the mixture from time to time until the eggs are lukewarm to the touch; remove the bowl and start mixing the eggs and sugar until the mixture turns very thick and light in color. While the egg mixture is thickening, place the flour, salt, cream of wheat, baking powder, mahlab and cloves in a bowl and mix well with a whisk.
- As soon as the egg mixture is ready, sift the flour mixture over the eggs and slowly resume mixing until the flour mixture disappears; add the raisins and pecans and mix a few more seconds to incorporate.
- Pour the batter into a rectangular pan lined with parchment paper; spread out with a spatula to cover the entire surface of the pan. Sprinkle the sesame seeds all over. Bake for 30 minutes or until the batter is golden and dry.
- Cool for a few minutes then cut into 1/2 inch slices with a serrated knife. Dry in a 200F oven for 25 minutes, checking halfway through to make sure the cookies are not too toasted. Serve.
NOTE: The cookies will keep for at least a week in a tight container. In Lebanon, cream of wheat would be called farina or coarse semolina.