Biscuits or cookies? I’m all for the British definitions: cookies are flat, chewy and squidgy and have chocolate chips in them; biscuits are – just about everything else. But seriously, the American biscuits served with gravy notwithstanding, I usually think of things cakey or jammy or crunchy as biscuits. They never actually are true to their name: biscuits derive from ‘biscotti’, twice cooked. Those Italians – chips are cooked twice, not cakes! Joking aside, Italians are clearly more precise: biscotti are indeed baked twice, hence hard and thoroughly dunkable.
But clearly even Italians, masters of food naming (priest stranglers; trousers’ legs et al) show some flexibility to biscuits, calling thus confections that visit the oven just once. And these, biscotti alla ricotta, prove me right: soft, tender, melty and barely sweet.
And yet they are called cookies but purely because the recipe I followed comes from NY Times Cooking and I wanted to give Melissa Clark her credit. Truly though – they are not cookies as described above. Soft and pillowy, the icing is optional and the sprinkles even more so. So lovely they turned out in fact that it got me thinking what other cooking implementations ricotta has, apart from the very obvious.