Saturday, January 22, 2011

today's lesson: the joys of homemade biscotti are not to beunderestimated.

i'm a biscotti freak. i buy bags of mini biscotteenies and go through them every few days. they're a great snack and an even better dessert when dipped in chocolate.

these maple almond and chocolate chip biscotti are a hobbit invention, a sort of mishmash of other blog recipes that called for nuts which my dear mother's allergy would not allow. somehow, almonds are still a go. nonetheless, i ended up tossing in chocolate chips because we ran out of almonds. point is: feel free to go wild with the mix-ins, just make sure they amount to about 1/2 to 3/4 cup.

this was also an experiment in using maple syrup as a sweetener, which offers a certain nuttiness that sugar can't. i really enjoy a strong maple flavor so i put in 2/3 cup of syrup. if you're looking for a more subtle taste, 1/2 cup will be fine - just be prepared to add a tablespoon or so of water in the event that the dough is too dry.

the final morsel of advice i would offer is to handle your biscotti after the first bake as gently as you might a newborn infant. or a baby ferret. using a serrated knife and cutting your pieces a bit thicker will help ensure they don't crumble before you get them on the baking pan a second time.

die zutaten:

1 + 3/4 cups white flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tbsp cold water, as needed
1/2 cup melted chocolate (for dipping!)

preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease your pan.

in a large mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. add wet ingredients, including almonds and chocolate chips. if your dough is feeling a bit dry and flakey, adding one tablespoon of water should get it to adhere. scoop the dough out of the bowl and place on your baking pan. shape it into one or two logs and flatten using your fingertips until they are about 1/2 inch thick. i made mine in one log as i like a longer biscotti, but if you prefer a shorter cookie, two logs is the way to go.

bake for about 22 minutes until the top of each log is firm and the bottom edges are slightly browned. remove from the oven and slide off the baking sheet onto a cutting board or wire rack. leave to cool about 10 minutes.

with a large knife (preferably serrated), cut the log diagonally into slices. these can be as thick or thin as you like (i went about 1/2 inch thick) but be careful about slicing them too thin. place them cut side down back on the baking pan. lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for about another 12-16 minutes. the longer you bake it, the crisper your end product will be. don't worry if the dough still feels slightly soft - it will harden and dry out a bit once removed from the oven.

finally, melt some chocolate in the microwave or on the stove, and after the biscotti have cooled at least 10 minutes, dunk or drizzle away! place in refrigerator for about 20 minutes to harden. enjoy with a warm cup of chai or a cool glass of milk.