Monday, September 27, 2010

Basic Biscotti: How To Be Twice Baked, Not Half-Baked

Biscotti gets its name from the Italian words for "twice baked" which is exactly how you make it. But don't let the double baking process fool you; it's an easy recipe and handy to have.

That said, Erma, you'll need to preheat the oven to 325 (and possibly put on a pot of coffee for a bit of dunking later).

In a mixer bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of butter (or *sigh* margarine) with 1 1/3 cups of sugar and 2 tsp of baking powder (yes, I know, that's not the normal order of things). Blend together before adding 3 eggs and 2 tablespoons of almond extract. Beat until smooth.

Now add 2 1/4 cups of AP flour and blend until smooth and thick.

That's basic biscotti batter. Of course, you are free to substitute 1/4 of a cup of flour with 1/4 cup of cocoa powder for chocolate and toss in a handful of mini chocolate chips or chopped dried cherries. Or substitute the almond extract with vanilla and a tsp of cinnamon or orange zest. Or toss in a cup of chopped nuts. Whatever flips your ship, Honey.

Regardless of the creation, you'll need to scrape your batter on to a baking sheet that has been lined-preferable with a silpat. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET INVESTED IN A SILCONE BAKING MAT, I STRONGLY URGE YOU TO PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND AND GET WITH THE TECHNOLOGY.  I'm just saying....

I also really like my bowl scrapper for this recipe because I know it will never break while I'm using it on a dense mixture. I've snapped my fair share of handles.

Scrape the batter into TWO rows if you have a large bake sheet. If you don't happen to have one, used two cookie sheets (ah! but now you need two silpats (*small giggle*). Don't be tempted to dump it all into one large blop because this batter spreads ALOT and you will have gianormous biscotti.

Once the batter is shaped into two long rows, wet your hands to smooth the batter out. The water will keep the batter from sticking to you so you can have pretty biscotti.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Be sure to test the batter because if it is not baked fully, you will have a hard time cutting it to rebake, so press lightly on the center to be sure it is firm. The batter should also be lightly golden all over and not have any wet-looking spots.

Pull from the oven but leave the heat where it is. Let the sheet rest for only a minute or two before cutting diagonally across the rows in one-inch segments. (Feel free to nibble on the ends for "quality control" purposes). Also, make sure you use a non-serrated knife for this. A long-bladed chef's knife or a carving knife works really well.

Now, turn each piece over on its side. I like to turn them all in the same direction (...because I'm OCD) because it makes it easier to know if they have all been turned.

Return to oven for 10 minutes, then flip the pieces over to bake on the other side to finish baking for 5 more minutes.

When the biscotti is completely cooled, you can dip them in some melted chocolate or drizzle them with a little melted almond bark for a special treat or to jazz up a cookie tray (omg, did I just say that? what have I become?).

Personally, I like to use these for teething biscuits for Thing 2. Or maybe I should say, Thing 2 snatched one from my hand today and happily gnawed it into submission for the better part of 15 minutes than demanded the rest of the batch.

Store in an airtight container for the remainder of the biscotti's days.

1 comment:

ash said...

adam just got biscotti last week for our little lounge area in the studio. & i was saying that i should make some...now there's just no excuse.