biscotti

Standard

Let me preface this by saying that I can, in all likelihood, count the number of times I’ve been inclined to turn down any kind of dessert on one hand.  It probably goes without saying that I’m a fan of the whole baked goods thing, seeing as I have a blog dedicated to them – but given the potentially controversial nature of my next statement, I felt the need to make it explicit.

See, of all of the sundry varieties of pastries and confections, the one I have never been inclined to consume – or, by extension, to bake myself – are biscotti.  Sure, they don’t have the rabid following of, say, the cupcake, but they seem to have a universal fan base that I just could never get myself to join.  On paper, they’re kind of enticing – endless varieties; exotic (or at least exotic-sounding); often dipped in chocolate, and who can resist that – but…I don’t know.  Biscotti lovers, I apologize for my intolerance, but I cannot pass up a chewy, flavorful chocolate chip cookie in favor of something that inevitably and of its own accord spews crumbs down my shirt.

ready to bake

I think that’s the problem.  I know you’re supposed to dip them in your coffee or something European and elegant like that, but my first memory of trying a biscotto (yes, that’s the singular) was when my mom had found them in some restaurant or coffee shop and, gushing, given me a bite that I had to gnaw on for some unacceptable length of time before being able to swallow.  It reminds me of a story my parents tell about my sister and me – who, when offered our first bites of steak, chewed for a solid five minutes before looking up and asking, “Mommy?  How long do we have to chew this?”

ready for their second baking

don't forget to flip

Luckily, I’ve grown up enough since then to give the biscotti another shot.  Motivated not least by the idea of dipping them in chocolates and decorating them prettily, I spent a few hours of this Valentine’s Day weekend mixing up a few batches and arranging them in cute little gift bags for coworkers and friends.  I went a little crazy with all the different varieties, which I’ll include below, but I promise that these will be well-received regardless of your level of commitment to people-pleasing.  The recipes I used as a base were, as far as I could tell, Americanized (in that they used butter instead of the more authentic no-fat-at-all route), but in the interest of maximum flavor and minimum annoying dryness, I felt it was reasonable to sacrifice authenticity.  Next time: lemon-poppyseed-olive oil?

Basic Biscotti

Adapted from Epicurious

1 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter, melted

3 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

2 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking poweder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (optional; I added cranberries as well)

Chocolate or white chocolate, for dipping, optional (I used about 2 cups)

Stir together sugar, butter, and vanilla until combined well.  Stir in eggs one at a time.  Gently stir in dry ingredients.  Stir in white chocolate chips, if using.  Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Divide dough in half, then shape each half into a 11×2.5-inch log lengthwise on prepared baking sheet, keeping two to three inches in between logs.  Bake until logs are cracked and dry, about 25-30 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Gently cut warm logs into 3/4-inch-thick slices using a serrated knife and arrange on baking sheet, cut side down.  Bake until just dry, about 8 minutes.  Flip to other cut side and bake another 8 minutes.  Cool.

* If dipping: Melt your chocolate gently in the microwave or over a double boiler.  Dip one end of biscotti into chocolate; lay on wax paper to harden.

 

Double Chocolate Biscotti

Adapted from Epicurious

1 3/4 cups flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup brown sugar, packed

6 teaspoons butter, softened

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks

Chocolate or white chocolate, for dipping, optional (I used about 2 cups)

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients, then the chocolate chunks.  Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Divide dough in half, then shape each half into a 11×2.5-inch log lengthwise on prepared baking sheet, keeping two to three inches in between logs.  Bake until logs are cracked and dry, about 25-30 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Gently cut warm logs into 3/4-inch-thick slices using a serrated knife and arrange on baking sheet, cut side down.  Bake until just dry, about 8 minutes.  Flip to other cut side and bake another 8 minutes.  Cool.

* If dipping: Melt your chocolate gently in the microwave or over a double boiler.  Dip one end of biscotti into chocolate; lay on wax paper to harden.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s