I find it hard to write an objective review of Profumo di biscotti, written by my friend Rossella, because I remember the moment when she said: Giuliettina honey – she loves to call me like this - I’ll do a book, can you imagine? My book! How can you be objective when you’ve lived through her excited words the choice of cookies to bake for the book, the nights spent writing, rewriting and editing recipes, because Rossella is such a meticulous woman, precise, you’ll never find a superficial recipe, never. She is simply Rossella, the woman always seeking for the perfect light, plates, forks and napkins, she’s the woman who travels through Italy, searching for the perfect location for her shooting with all her props neatly arranged in the suitcase along with a lamb shank.
Her recipes reflect her pure and honest soul, her enthusiasm and love for the beautiful and simple things in life. Her recipes are a guarantee of success, satisfaction and fun. How could her cookbook be different? it is honest and straightforward like Rossella, packed with good recipes and inspiration, a collection of nice ideas to present your cookies and make them perfect gifts for your girlfriends, your mother, an old teacher you still meet regularly, your loved one, or yourself.
I had two copies of Profumo di biscotti. One was sent directly by Rosella, the other one was a gift I made myself as soon as the book became available on Amazon. I don’t know if it is the same for you, but when you really love a book, you tend to gift it to the people you love, to share with them an experience and an emotion. I gave the second copy of Profumo di biscotti to my sister Claudia. Since I moved here she’s been enjoying the kitchen at my parents’ house, finally free to bake without an older sister occupying every single inch of the kitchen, so she discovered the pleasure of baking cakes, cookies and granola, everything strictly organic. At the fourth recipe she made from Rossella’s book I asked her to write a short review, and here it is. At least a sister out of two managed to be objective and not get caught by emotion.
Since I got this book I felt an uncontrollable urge to make cookies. I started with the vanilla, marsala and almonds ones, then the Chocolate crinkle cookies, then Cruschelli Flowers with spelt and hazelnuts. All the recipes I tried are simple and well illustrated and anyone, even those without any special culinary skills (like me!) can make them without problems. The introduction on the various ingredients and methods make it even easier to understand recipes.
Except for rare exceptions, I’m not crazy for cookies, I don0’t like them when they are too sweet and cloying. The ones I’ve tried are perfect: full of flavour but not overly sugary, thanks to the use of alternative flours and cane sugar cane. You won’t ever get tired of eating them.
The recipe I tried is the first one that captured first my eyes them my imagination: extra virgin olive oil, juice and zest of citrus fruits, everything was screaming Mediterranean allure.
- 350 g flour
- 3 g of baking powder
- 1 large organic orange
- 1 organic grapefruit
- 1 organic lemon
- 1 organic lime
- 100 g of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg yolk
- 100 g of icing sugar
- 1 beaten egg for brushing
- In a bowl, add the baking powder to the flour and mix well. Keep aside.
- Wash and dry the citrus fruit, then grate the zest and keep aside.
- Squeeze the orange and collect the juice in a small bowl: it must be 120 g, if it is not enough add the juice of a lemon.
- In a large bowl mix orange juice, olive oil, the egg yolk, the grated zest of citrus fruits and the icing sugar. Pour the flour, a little at a time, and mix until the dough has the texture of shortcrust pastry. Make a ball, wrap in cling film and keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it on a floured surface with a rolling pin until 3 - 4 mm thick. Cut out cookies and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the surface with a beaten egg and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden.
Rossella’s book is a good chance to talk about Christmas gift. If you are still looking for a perfect gift for foodies, here’s a few ideas:
- if you loved Jerusalem by Ottolenghi, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed by Jewelled Kitchen, Bethany’s book, on the New York Times list of best cookbooks of 2013!
- if you are searching for geek objects, I think that the iPad kitchen stands can be a really nice idea for those who live in a constant creative chaos in the kitchen. Those made by Belkin are my favourite ones.
- a little self-promotion is admitted on Christmas time, right? So don’t miss my cookbook, I love Toscana!