December 03, 2006

Bloggers Bake Biscotti... and It's Good!

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A couple weeks ago I made biscotti. I wasn’t overly impressed with it. I even went so far as to say that I didn’t really like biscotti. I may also have been heard to utter something like “tastes like rocks.” But I was mistaken. I tip my hat to Dorie Greenspan who proved me wrong. Bravo Dorie, bravo. (Insert slow clap here.) The wonderful author of Baking: From My Home to Yours taught me that biscotti can be good, better than good, it can be great! I learned that I do in fact enjoy biscotti, just not the inferior variety. However, after my last unsatisfying experience with biscotti, I was in no hurry to make it again. Then fate intervened in the form of Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice and Lis from La Mia Cucina. They recently collaborated on a pretzel making adventure (seen here and here) where they each made pretzels from the same recipe and blogged about it on the same day. I was jealous. I wanted in on the fun and I told them so. Being the nice folks that they are, they invited me to participate with them in their next joint blog, and wouldn’t you know it, they were making biscotti. Why do the Gods mock me, why??? Then I heard that Peabody from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and Helene from Tartelette were also in on it and I have yet to see these 4 bloggers produce anything less than spectacular so that was encouraging. And then when I found out the recipe was from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home To Yours, which everyone has been raving about lately (and which had better be under the tree on December 25th) I knew I was in.

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The original recipe was for chocolate-almond biscotti, but at the end of her recipe, Dorie offers two possible variations:
1- The addition of cherries.
2- Dipping the finally product in white chocolate.
Hm, both of those sounded good, what to do, what to do… Eureka! Put those two variations together to create the ultimate ‘chocolate-chocolate wrapped around vanilla-cherry-almond drizzled with white and dark chocolate biscotti’. A mouthful to say, a joy to eat. One lucky person will even be receiving the lovely box of biscotti you see above thanks to another round of Blogging By Post hosted by Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness.

Chocolate Biscotti (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)
My method takes an extra long time because I basically made the dough twice, there are easier ways to do this, but obviously you’ve got nothing but time so here’s the long route:

Begin by centering a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ยบ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Vanilla-Cherry-Almond Dough
1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
2 T instant cappuccino powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda, generous
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. chopped almonds
1/3 c. chopped dried cherries
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes; the mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don't worry if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the almonds and cherries, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Chocolate-Chocolate Dough
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda, generous
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 T kirsch
1 T wild cherry syrup
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Sift together the flour, cocoa, cappuccino powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes; the mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, kirsch and cherry syrup and beat for another 2 minutes; don't worry if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Divide each flavour of dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 12 inch long logs. Take one chocolate log and one vanilla log and wrap them around each other. Flatten both logs together with the palm of your hand so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining halves.
Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will spread and crack - and that's just fine. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, put it on a cooling rack and cool the logs for about 20 minutes. (Leave the oven on.)
Working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick. Stand the slices up on the baking sheet - you'll have an army of biscotti - and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool.
In a double boiler melt white chocolate chips and drizzle over the biscotti. Then melt dark chocolate chips and drizzle again.
Storing:
By their very nature, biscotti are good keepers. They'll keep in a cookie jar or an open basket for a week or more. Wrapped airtight, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.
(Dorie says this makes about 40, I got closer to 32.)


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17 comments:

WhItE_PoPlAr said...

Beuatifully done biscotti!

Rachel said...

They look great! I love blogging events like this!

peabody said...

I love it...it gives you suggestions and you do ALL of them...fantastic! :) And I thought I was being a rebel by dipping them in white chocolate.

Ivonne said...

Well done, Brilynn, well done. (Insert clap here.)

I'm so glad you took part ... and the biscotti are gorgeous!

Lis said...

You are a GENIUS! That is the funkiest looking biscotti I have ever seen and let me tell you, my friend, I loves me some funk! How the heck did you guys get your white chocolate to melt?? I put mine in a double boiler but it would not melt past a thick frosting type consistency - I chucked it all and went for semi-sweet instead. Which is cool, as I hate white chocolate - but I had this idea of cinnamon & white chocolate and drizzles and dollops and well shite. It didn't happen.

Simply beautiful biscotti - I'm glad Dorie changed your mind about it =)

Tanna said...

Unreal! How cool to wrap the different logs together!!! Beautiful.

Mae said...

They look stunning, Brilynn. I loved that you named it twice "Chocolate-Chocolate Dough". I've always thought of biscotti as rock-like too. I must try a biscotti again some time.

Mae

Ellie said...

Oh man, that looks absolutely delish!

Asha said...

OMG!! They look divine and my husband might move in with a Grande Starbucks coffee in his hands:)

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Biscotti are great - perfect for coffee dunking!

wheresmymind said...

Those look mad good!

Anonymous said...

You are so funny and this finished product looks delicious. I'm not a huge biscotti fan but I would happily dig into the ones you've made!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Monisha said...

This sounds like such a fun event here! Your biscotti looks so good, this recipe is a keeper :)!

Stephanie said...

Brilynn, these look absolutely beautiful and I can easily imagine their decadence. Thank you, I will try these out.

If you're wanting a high-quality but simpler biscotti, I have refined my own almond-anise biscotti. Best dunked in coffee or sweet Italian dessert wine like Vin Santo. See my post here, http://scrumptious.typepad.com/srbeack/2006/08/almond_anise_bi_1.html

Veron said...

I just made my batch of chocolate biscotti. They are fantastic!

thordora said...

I haven't dug into these yet, but your gingerbread were EXACTLY what I like-I need more!!! :)

Thank you so much for the awesome package. I'll be digging into these babies tonight!

thordora said...

In case anyone was wondering, these were FREAKING AWESOME. My father who "hates" biscotti ate almost all of them.

And I can't get the taste of your gingerbread out of my mouth. SOOOO good. AND we made one of the recipies from the book, and it was SUPER tasty!

Thanks again!