I will be the first to admit that I am not a baker. I thoroughly enjoy cooking and having the ability to add seasonings and ingredients that I want to add to make it my own while at the same time sticking to the basic recipe. Baking on the other hand usually requires precise measurements and ingredients and I tend to keep less of the particular baking ingredients around than I do an interesting ingredient that I stumbled upon at the grocery store. It is much easier for me to see leeks, or a potato and come up with a recipe that I wish to make that particular item into than having to stick to a strict recipe for cookies or baked goods. I guess you could say that I am just more of a savory kind of girl.
With that being said, I woke up one morning with a craving for biscotti. I couldn’t tell you the last time I ate biscotti although I do love the idea of sitting by a window with coffee in the morning and dipping a biscotti into it. Biscotti is generally not the kind of craving I get, but I figured why not make something that I have never attempted before so long as I am breaking into the baking field of the kitchen. I found this recipe on another blog that I read and was immediately intrigued and couldn’t wait to make it. With my mother’s blessings for attempting to bake, along with the reassurance that if I didn’t like them it is the holiday season and with some cute packaging I could easily give them away, I tackled biscotti.
Now, most people are familiar with biscotti but as I was making them it became clear to my and everyone around that we did not really know what to deem them as…cake? cookie? bread? Traditionally, and what gives them the awesome durability in coffee along with the distinct crunch is that they are twice baked and can be considered a sweet bread. They are first baked as logs with a cake like structure until they are sturdy, then sliced into the all too familiar biscotti shape, and then baked again to give them the crunch.
Let’s just say that that after making a huge ziplock bag full of them and going out of town for 4 days, they were completely demolished by my family. So, this recipe is not just for bakers it is simple and completely satisfying. A great holiday gift or something to keep around to munch on. The next time I make these I think I will dip the ends in melted chocolate…because who doesn’t love a little chocolate?
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 1999, and taken this time from http://smittenkitchen.com/
They’re supposed to make 3 dozen
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped or sliced almonds
1 large egg white
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, orange liquer and zest in large bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.
Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over top and sides of each dough log.
Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 30 minutes. Cool logs completely on sheet on rack, about 25 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
Transfer logs to work surface; discard parchment paper. Using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.