Monday, December 12, 2011

LaDeeDaDee...We all like Biscotti!

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Let me take you step by step through one of the most delicious, fancy cookies I adore...Biscotti!  I do not know why the stores charge you an arm and a leg for biscotti.  Armed with my mixer it takes me about 10 minutes to prep, contains only several ingredients which you might have at this very moment, and it is only slightly labor intensive as you shape, bake, cool, cut and rebake it.  My Mother in law showed me how to make it years ago (this is not her recipe, but sort of a mash up of ones I like) and it is now one of my favorite Christmas cookies to bake and gift away.  

This recipe is a Christmas gift to you and yours.  Biscotti makes awesome Christmas presents, put it in a cellophane package with a ribbon, or in a coffee mug with a sample size of ground coffee and a chocolate dipped spoon and give to your favorite neighbor, teacher, dentist or BFF...got your attention yet?  I thought I would!  Aren't they cute in just a simple little Christmas bag? I just gave some to my carpool friend this morning like this :)

I am going to take you through two different kinds of biscotti, but once you have it down you can pretty much add any combination of flavors and I will tell you how later.


{Chocolate Biscotti}
First you cream the butter with the sugar.  I like to use my paddle attachment for this but a hand mixer will do the job too.  Soften the butter for an easier time with this.   

Then you add in the 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
Two eggs
A little of the flour at a time for a total of 1 3/4 cups. Slow down your mixer before you do this part or you will end up with a flour facial!  This picture is not a good example of slowing down the mixer.
But this one is...scrape down the bowl and make sure all the flour is incorporated.
Add some chocolate chips...how ever many you like.  I eye ball it to be about 1/4 cup.

Scrape down your bowl and get a cookie sheet ready with some parchment paper on it.  Parchment is a cookies best friend.
Then plop your dough out on to the cookie sheet.  I made a double batch here, so normally you would just have one biscotti lump to form...I have two! ;)
Use a bit of parchment left over from cutting the parchment to fit your sheet and shape and mold the dough into a flat, oblong dough lump/log...about 1/2 inch tall and about 8 inches wide.
 
Then plop those guys in a preheated oven at 375 to bake for 20-25 minutes. If you press gently on the center after 20 minutes and there is a lot of give then put it in for 5 more minutes, or use the toothpick trick.

Remove the biscotti from the oven and allow it to cool completely on the cookie sheet.  Biscotti (and especially the chocolate version) is extremely delicate at this point so just leave it until it is totally cool and you will cut it.

Once the biscotti has cooled for the first time, take a serrated bread knife, and carefully cut the biscotti into 1/2 inch pieces at a diagonal.  I often cut the largest middle pieces in half for consistency in baking and uniformity in packaging.  I suppose you could split it up and make two smaller logs so they are all *purdy like* but I like the hand made look.  If you cut them in half, they won't be exactly like in the store all perfectly rounded, etc. But hey...these are handmade biscotti we are talking about here!!  And feel free to eat the end pieces while you wait for them to bake a second time.
Carefully place them back onto the parchment lined cookie sheet flat side down. Admire how beautiful they look and place them into the oven at 325 for 9 minutes, then flip them over to the other flat side and bake them for another 9 minutes.  9 minutes a side gives these biscotti a non-tooth-breaking texture.  You won't have to dip them in your coffee nearly as long this way but if you want them crunchier than bake a bit longer.  When you remove them the second time from the oven you might not think they are crispy enough...they will get harder as they cool.
Once they are cooled again, you can melt yourself some chocolate and dip the long edges into the chocolate and allow it to set up on the cookie sheet and then they have the third addition of chocolate and for a Chocoholic like me that is the final and necessary touch! 

...***...
{Cranberry Orange Biscotti}
The same basic dough is started for this Cranberry Orange biscotti as the chocolate biscotti.
Get out your dried cranberries and an orange.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Then add orange zest.  Use a fancy zester like this, or you can use a veggie peeler and then chop it finely and add it to the bowl.  I get no endorsement from "The Pampered Chef" but I wish I did!!  I love this knife!!  
Add some baking soda and baking powder.
And the flour just like before...a little at a time.
Chop up 1/4 cup of dried cranberries.

Scrape the bowl down.





Shape it into the shape for baking just as before and bake in a 375 degree preheated oven.


Let it cool completely on the cookie sheet before cutting.



Once it is cool, cut it with a serrated bread knife. I keep the ends out and snack on them while I wait for them to bake the second time, this time at 325 degrees.




I cut the biscotti in half to stretch it some and make them a more reasonable and consistent size. Then bake them on parchment (or in this case I am using a stone) for about 9-13 minutes a side or until they are crisp and lightly browned.  This version take longer than the chocolate ones to bake for the second time, if you like them crispier than keep them in longer, but remember they will crunch more once cooled.


{The Recipes}

-Chocolate Biscotti-
1/3 cup of butter softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chocolate chips or chunks
Cream butter and sugar together.  Add cocoa powder, and baking powder; beat until combined.  Beat in the eggs.  Beat flour in, a little at a time.  Stir in or mix in the chocolate pieces. 
Shape the dough into an 8 inch wide by 1 inch tall flattened log.  Place dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before cutting it.
Transfer the cooled biscotti to a cutting board and cut at a diagonal approximately 1/2 inch wide slices.  Place the slices flat side down the parchment cookie sheets again and bake at 325 degrees for about 8 or 9 minutes, turn over and bake for another 8 or 9 minutes or until cookies are dry and crisp.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool. 

-Cranberry Orange Biscotti-
1/3 cup of butter softened
2/3 cup sugar
4 tsp. finally shredded orange peel
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar together.  Add orange zest, baking powder and baking soda, beat until combined.  Beat in the eggs.  Beat flour in, a little at a time.   
Shape the dough into an 8 inch wide by 1 inch tall flattened log.  Place dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before cutting it.
Transfer the cooled biscotti to a cutting board and cut at a diagonal approximately 1/2 inch wide slices.  Place the slices flat side down the parchment cookie sheets again and bake at 325 degrees for about 9-13 minutes, turn over and bake for another 9-13 minutes or until cookies are dry and crisp.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool. 
{Variations on Biscotti Flavors}
**You can use the Cranberry Orange recipe as a base and take out the cranberry and orange zest and add any of these combinations in their place.

-Omit orange zest and add in lemon zest and poppy seeds
-Add almond slivers and 1 tsp. of almond extract for almond biscotti
-Add in pistachios, cranberries and white chocolate chips for a Christmasy look
-Add in any other finely chopped dried fruits
-Add in peppermint extract to the chocolate biscotti, dip them in melted chocolate and stick on some crushed candy cane pieces.
-Add caramel pieces and a caramel or chocolate drizzle
-Add peanut butter chips and chocolate chips
-Add chopped banana chips to the chocolate biscotti alone or with chocolate chunks
-Dip, drizzle and roll them in any kind of chocolate you like; white, milk, dark chocolate. Roll in coconut, nuts, sprinkles, mini-chocolate chips...drizzle the chocolate on. The options are up to you!!

ENJOY!! Merry Christmas!! Happy dipping ;)


 


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5 comments:

Karen said...

those sound good. I may just have to try them for dessert or before the meals on chrismas eve and christmas

MaryMary said...

I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. Yum

Anonymous said...

I just made it for all my co workers. Important sure they will love it.

Life on the Final Frontier... said...

Thank you for posting! We love biscotti!

Shane said...

I've never thought about making my own biscotti before but it looks so easy! I've got to give this a try sometime.