Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bite o' Biscotti=Cookie #2

My friend Beth introduced me to the joys of biscotti.  Oh, I had seen them in coffee shops and I may have tried one, but I'm sure it paled in comparison to that which one produces with  one's own nimble fingers.
One of the reasons I love biscotti (now) is because they are the perfect foil on a cold tundra (I mean winter's) night with a pot of tea.  This is SO something my mom would do as she loved her winter pot of tea (gunpowder loose if she had her choice) with cookies.  She would have adored these.
So, here is the "basic" recipe Beth passed on to me:
1/3 cup butter 
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg yolk beaten
1 Tbs water
*chocolate variation add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 375
Cream first 3 ingredients.  Add vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Add nuts and chocolate chips last.
Make a long flat loaf approx 5-6" wide by 15" long.

Combine egg yolk with water and brush loaf. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove let cool half hour, slice in 3/4 inch slices, lay slices on sides bake at 325 for 15 minutes each side, or until dry.
Cool and store in an airtight container. *I* do it.  Even though I started out with Chocolate Crinkles, *I* am not a huge fan of chocolate. Yes, I'll pause a moment to let you absorb that...a woman...NOT enamored with chocolate.  OK, are you done?  Continuing.  So, what I do is I substitute the chocolate (chips in this case) with dried cherries.  Dried cranberries or even blueberries would also work but I happen to like cherries.  Now, I happen to adore walnuts but I like how macadamia nuts work with the cherries.  And since I.LOVE.NUTS, I put in twice as much (I do that with pretty much anything that calls for nuts so that shouldn't be earth shattering news for you).  If I have it available, I will also add some citrus rind, with this combination, I would do either orange or lemon zest.  Maybe a tsp or so.  Just to add a little zing. And if I'm feeling REALLY festive, I will drizzle the top with some white and dark chocolate.  'Cause that's how I roll.
Here is the kicker with biscotti:  you can do what YOU like.  It is pretty forgiving if you use the basic recipe.  I haven't deviated much, mostly because I happen to be the only one in the family who eats these and *I* like them so what's the point in deviating and having NO ONE eat them?  But I'm thinking of changing it up a little.  Switching out the cherries for a little crystallized ginger, maybe some white chocolate (YES chocolate) and pistachios.  Doesn't that sound intriguing?

No tea, but it sure goes great with coffee.

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