Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Biscotti Series....(Part 1)

Biscotti + Coffee = (makes me) happy.   It's very simple. 

And because of my simple equation, I was very excited to learn how to make Biscotti in my Northern Italian Cuisine class. 

The keys to making biscotti (the ones that I've found useful)...
-In the summer, flour tends to be more moist, so you might have to use more
-In the winter, flour tends to be more dry, so you might have to use less
-If you live in a humid climate you might need more flour
-if you live in a dry climate you might need less flour
-You might also want to see how the stars are aligning on the day you are going to make Biscotti...

I generally start off with the amount of flour the recipe states.  If the dough is too moist once all the ingredients are incorporated (and most of the time my biscotti dough is too moist, because the humidity in Toronto is higher) I'll incorporate a 1/4 cup of flour until I get the right texture.  What you are looking for in the batter is the consistency of sticky cookie dough.  

If you are unsure when it comes to baking 'doneness', it's always better to under-bake biscotti then over-bake...for two reasons:  First, the cookie will harden as it cools and second, (once it has cooled a little after the second baking) if the biscotti is not as hard as you would like it to be, you can always put it back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

I have two recipes for biscotti that I love => Toasted Almond & Chocolate and Pistachio & Orange 

Chocolate and Toasted Almond Biscotti
(makes about 36 cookies)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almonds, chopped
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

(1) Toast almonds.  Spread them out on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler (set to high).  Once they have a light golden colour take them out of the oven and let cool.  Don't walk away because they can go from toasted to burned in about 10 seconds
-can also toast almonds in a pan on medium until they just start to smell
***don't over-toast the almonds as they will give the biscotti a bitter taste***
-once almonds have cooled, chop them up finely
(2) Get two trays and layer one on top of the other.  Place a piece of parchment paper on the top tray
-the layering of the two trays ensures that the bottom of the biscotti won't burn
(3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
(4) Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt; set aside
(5) With an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the eggs and butter until mixture has lightened in colour
(6) Add the sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract, mix for another 2 minutes
(7) Turn the mixer to low, add chocolate chips and toasted almonds, mix until just combined
(8) Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined
(9) Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about an hour
-this makes the 'sticky' cookie dough easier to work with
(10) Take dough out of bowl and shape into a log on a floured surface


(11) Place shaped log onto layered baking sheets; fix shape if required


(12) Bake 25-30 minutes , until top is a light golden brown
First bake - light golden brown
(13) Remove from oven and let cool slightly (cool enough to work with).  Cut the biscotti log into 3/4 inch slices (can do this either vertically or on an angle...your choice) with a serrated knife; lay the biscuits on baking sheet, cut side down
-No longer need to bake on double layered baking sheets
-Might have to use more than one baking sheet - make sure they are lined all lined with parchment paper
-Cut the biscotti log with confidence.  Tentative cuts may cause biscotti to crumble.
Lay biscotti on baking sheets, cut side down for second baking
(14) Bake for 10-15 minutes more, until top of biscuit is golden brown
(15) Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet on wire racks.  Once it's cooled a bit, if you find that the biscotti is not hard enough, bake for another  5-10 minutes. 



Can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of months

These are great for sharing as they travel really well.

Part 2 of my 'Biscotti Series' will be the Pistachio & Orange recipe. 

Happy Cooking!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post. You have very clear instructions for making these delicious biscotti! Also I liked the s helpful information in the first part of your blog regarding flour. Well done, I look forward to part 2!

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