Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Twice-baked

Y'all, I've made a life-changing discovery.

Seriously.

Two words: Homemade Biscotti

More than two words: Yesterday I decided to cowboy up make my first batch of biscotti. Or, as my Southern friends would say "Git r done!"

I had been convinced that biscotti was one of those things that are difficult to get right. Turns out, I was so wrong! The dough is so easy to make and adjust to suit whatever flavor your heart desires. After stalking various pastry chef's biscotti recipes, I figured out all the components, scratched out a rough recipe and went to work. A little tweaking along the way and - drumroll please - they turned out fabulous!

I hope I don't sound super conceited in saying that but I'm just so thrilled at how easy it was to create my own biscotti recipe AND that they actually turned out tasting better than any I've ever had. I went into it with great fear and trepidation at first.
But about halfway through I started doing my silly happy dance and exclaiming "Ooooohhh mmmmyyyy gosh!" Which is basically my version of "eureka!"


Anyhow. I started off with flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt.


Then I double-checked my notes and chopped up some hazelnuts and craisins.



Add eggs, whole milk, vanilla and melted butter to the dry ingredients.



Stir until well-combined. It'll seem like it isn't going to be enough moisture at first but keep working at it and it should come together.


Fold in craisins and hazelnuts.



Divide dough into two balls. Dust with flour.



Form each ball into a kinda flat log shape and place on a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet.



Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the top feels firm. Allow the logs to stand for 10 minutes.



Using a serrated knife, slice the logs gently.



Place the sliced biscotti back on the baking sheet. Bake at 250 for 10-15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes. You just want to toast the biscotti without going so far as to cause it to brown.



After the biscotti has finished baking, you can either drizzle the biscotti with white chocolate or dip one end in melted white chocolate. Add more nuts on top if you so wish.

Pictured above are the two kinds of biscotti I made yesterday (I was on a baking roll): dark chocolate hazelnut with cranberries and white chocolate drizzle & milk chocolate almond. Here's the recipe for the basic chocolate biscotti with the alterations noted at the bottom for the two different flavors:

Chocolate Biscotti 
Yields about 20 biscotti

2 c. flour
2/3 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1/3 c. whole milk
4 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla

1 c. white chocolate
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking liner or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, butter and vanilla. Pour egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until well-combined. Sprinkle dough with flour and divide into two equal balls; form each into a flat log shape, about 1" high. Place the logs on the prepared pan.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the logs feel firm on top. Remove from oven and allow the logs to stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust the temperature of the oven down to 250.

Slice logs and return them, side down, to the silicone/parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 250. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes. You want the biscotti to become toasted but not too much. 

Melt white chocolate in a microwave, stirring every 20 seconds to prevent scorching. Either dip one end of the biscotti into the melted chocolate or drizzle it over the biscotti. Add nuts to the side dipped in chocolate (optional). Allow chocolate to harden before serving. 

Variations 

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut with Cranberries: Use dark cocoa powder in place of the regular. After combining wet and dry ingredients, fold in 1/2 c. chopped hazelnuts and 1/2 c. craisins.

Milk Chocolate Almond: Substitute cream for milk, use only 1 tsp. of vanilla and add 1 tsp. almond extract. Dip the biscotti in white chocolate and top with sliced almonds.

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