jibb: Crystalized caffeine under the microscope. (Default)
[personal profile] jibb

I've made biscotti a number of times lately, as they're a perfect snack to leave in a jar on my desk; they're simple, long-lasting, and go well with tea. I've been using the recipes from The New Best Recipe cookbook, which I've adapted into a recipe with several variations.


Base recipe

  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and any additional ground spices.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until pale yellow. Stir in vanilla and any additional flavorings. Fold in dry ingredients until the dough is just combined.
  4. With floured hands, divide the dough, and form on a lightly greased baking sheet into two 13x2 inch loaves, 3 inches apart. Bake until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack, about 35 minutes.
  5. Cool for 10 minutes, and lower the oven temperature to 325°. Using a bread knife, cut the loaves at a 45° angle into 1 cm slices. Arrange the slices on their sides on the baking sheet and return to oven. Bake, turning cookies over half way through baking, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Texture variations

The base recipe yields a hard, lightly flavored, long-lasting biscotti that requires dipping in tea or coffee. The biscotti can be made softer and more cake like by adding additional fat. Butter makes the softest biscotti, but will go stale much faster than those made with just eggs.

Hard

  • 1 tablespoon water

Just using the basic recipe (with flavorings) yields the hardest, longest lasting biscotti. However, I've found that the dough comes out slightly too dry unless you add a bit of extra water.

Extra yolks

  • 1/4 cup additional flour
  • 2 additional egg yolks

Butter

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Before adding eggs, cream the butter and sugar until light and smooth.

Flavor Variations

Citrus

Add the zested peel of one lemon or orange to the liquids before folding in the dry ingredients.

Dried fruit

Macerate 3/4 cup currants, chopped raisins, or chopped dates in 1/4 cup brandy for an hour. Add the fruit and 1 teaspoon of the brandy to the liquids before folding in the dry ingredients. Goes well in spiced biscotti.

Anise

Add 1 tablespoon anise seeds to the liquids before folding in the dry ingredients. Anise goes well with lemon peel.

Spiced

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (helps biscotti brown more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon additional vanilla extract

Mix baking soda and dry spices in with the dry ingredients. Extra vanilla extract brings the total vanilla extract added to the liquids to 1/2 teaspoon. Other good spices to add are nutmeg and allspice. Goes well with dried fruit or orange peel.

Nuts

  • /4 cup toasted, chopped almonds, hazelnuts, or other nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon additional vanilla extract

Mix baking soda and dry spices in with the dry ingredients. Extra vanilla extract brings the total vanilla extract added to the liquids to 1/2 teaspoon, mix this and almond extract in with liquids. If using other nuts, almond extract may not be appropriate. Goes well with orange peel.

Chocolate-dipped

After biscotti have cooled fully, melt (and temper, if you can/care) 1/2 lb dark chocolate. Dip one face of the biscotti in, set biscotti on the uncovered face, and leave to cool.


My current favorite of the variations are hard lemon-anise biscotti to dip in my tea, or softer spiced biscotti with orange or with currants for when I want a snack, but don't have time to make tea.

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jibb: Crystalized caffeine under the microscope. (Default)
Jonathan Beall

June 2012

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