Monday, June 30, 2008

Double Daring Bakers Biscotti

Another "making up for lost time" recipe. A bunch of us Daring Bakers are doing the monthly recipes that occurred before we joined the group. We are on the second recipe: Chocolate Toffee Biscotti (and a cinnamon biscotti variation). The formulas were originally from a Dorie Greenspan book and have been modified (or not?). I find that there are many versions of recipes floating around in cyberspace regarding the past challenges. It's like a game of telephone- you pass the info from one to another and changes get made.

In any case, these are not my favorite biscotti. They are quite flavorful, though a bit sweet, and they don't store very well. Some of you are saying, what do you mean store? #1 They get eaten, and possibly #2 Aren't they hard to begin with? Well, yes they do get eaten, but not as rapidly in my house as some baked goods. I like to have them for an occasional treat with a cup of coffee. I know, I know, that's a shocking level of never before witnessed restraint on my part. More importantly to me, therefore, is the stale quality after just one day. These recipes, are in my opinion, more a dried out cookie posing as biscotti, than what I think of as biscotti. I could be completely out to lunch, so don't take my comments personally if you really love these cookies.

I much prefer a biscotti by Maida Heatter, in her Best Desserts Book Ever, published in 1990. The difference is the butter. Hers have none. They are a crisp biscotti, not a stale sweet cookie. I know for sure that I am in the minority on this. People like sweet, especially with coffee. In my opinion, if you need to add sugar and whipped cream and caramel and chocolate and vanilla syrup to your coffee, and choke it down with a frosted sugary treat, you don't actually like coffee. Don't get me started... hmmm, too late?

I am going to include both recipes so you can make your own decision, should you decide to make them. The biscotti cioccolato from Maida have a definite spice and incredible intensity. They are crisp and wonderful. If you are making some biscotti that will be stored, I highly recommend these. If you are interested in making sweet cookies with chocolate chips, nuts and toffee pieces to eat right away, the Daring Bakers' recipe is really good. It's quite flavorful, and straightforward to make.

Maybe in another installment I'll share my thoughts on the orange nut cinnamon biscotti. For now, here are the chocolate recipes.

Enjoy them both!

Chocolate Toffee Biscotti

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBS. instant espresso powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 stick (6 TBS.) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. chopped almonds, blanched or unblanched
1 c toffee peices
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 3/4 c. store-bought mini chocolate chips
Sugar for dusting

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso 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 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 chopped nuts and chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 12 inch long logs. Flatten both logs 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. Sprinkle each log with a little sugar.

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. Makes about 40 cookies.

Biscotti Cioccolato from Maida Heatter's Best Desserts Book Ever

7 oz. whole unblanched almonds, skins on
3 eggs
½ c light brown sugar
1 t vanilla
½ t almond extract or bitter almond extract
2 c sifted unbleached flour
1 ½ t baking powder
¼ t salt
1 ¼ t white pepper
1 ¼ t ginger
1/3 c Dutch-process cocoa
2 T instant espresso powder (Medaglia D’oro)
½ c sugar
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, grated *

Toast the almonds at 375º for about 13 minutes. Cool. Turn oven down to 300º. Mix eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, ginger, cocoa, espresso and sugar. Put chocolate in food processor and add about ½ c of dry ingredients and process until the chocolate is fine and powdery. Add this chocolate mixture and eggs to dry ingredients in large mixer bowl. Mix, and add the nuts.

Form into loaves about 10“ long, 3“ wide, and ½ to ¾ “ high and bake on foil lined cookie sheets at 300º for about 50 minutes. Work on a floured surface and brush off any excess flour before baking. Reverse sheets top to bottom half way through.

Slice loaves into cookies about 2/3 to ¾” wide, can be as long as 8” if sharp enough angle. Good to start with serrated and finish with sharp straight edge. Bake again at 275º for 35 to 45 minutes.

* I like to use cocoa powder for the grated chocolate. Substitute 1T +1 ¾ t cocoa, 1 T + ½ t sugar, 1 ½ t unsalted butter for every ounce of semisweet chocolate.

Also, I like to cut the nuts instead of leaving them whole- much easier to slice the cookies.

And, leaving the sliced cookies in the oven over night works great. Turn oven off and there is enough heat left to crisp them without browning the sliced edges.


Sophie said...
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Lori said...

Maybe it was the toffee you put in. Thats not a part of Dories original recipe. That was Ivonnes creative touch. I made them true to Dories recipe and have to say I loved them. I am so sorry you did not. But I think the toffee would really boost the sugar. bummer.

Debyi said...

Your biscotti turned out great! I thought about doing the toffee version, but just stuck to the chocolate and the cinnamon ones. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy them as much as other recipes.