March 24, 2011

Sweet and Savory Biscotti!

The Maine House is venturing out in the world of baking! Our Inspiration? These amazingly beautiful Biscotti Jars we recently discovered! It will be hard to choose just one, but oh, aren't they exquisite? My sweet son-in-law absolutely loves Biscotti! So, why not venture into their gorgeous Tuscany style kitchen and get out the stand mixer to begin our Italian baking day so we can fill our new Biscotti Jar with some wonderful Italian delights!! Another favorite thing!

 You can shop for these beautiful handpainted Italian Ceramics at:

The Italian cookie with a crunchy yet moist disposition seems downright impossible to the timid eye, but don't let its slender mystique intimidate you! Biscotti, which means "twice cooked" is one dessert food that has survived throughout the centuries due to its hearty shelf life and varied recipe options.

Biscotti was born long ago in Italy and was believed to have made the long voyage with Columbus, as it is a food that can endure long months at sea. Biscotti require a few simple steps that you can attempt at home or in a baking and pastry school near you. Start by selecting a recipe that suits your taste--and then heat up your oven and get ready to bake. . . twice! These steps will get you started!

•Prepare your dough using a mix of oil, sugar, vanilla, and almond extracts. Add eggs and mix them in--this ingredient allows the biscotti to stick together and remain fresh without using butter.

•Once your dough is prepared, break it apart into two rolls about twelve inches by two inches. Bake until brown.

•After first baking, remove logs and cut at an angle into smaller slices. Bake them again for about ten minutes and then allow biscotti to cool.

Biscotti is a wonderful alternative to regular cookies to serve with a cup of coffee or tea. You want your dear ones to take one bite and exclaim, “This is the best biscotti I’ve ever had!” If you love almonds, you will fall head over heels with this cookie. If you’re not crazy about almonds, you soon will be. And the savory recipes are the perfect ending to a delightful dinner!

Lemon Almond Biscotti with White Chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from about 3 to 4 lemons)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped whole almonds
18 ounces white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixture until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Mix in the lemon zest and then the flour, and beat until just blended. (The dough will be sticky). Stir in the almonds. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Divide the dough evenly into 2 equal mounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. With moist hands, space the dough evenly apart and form into 2 (9 by-3-inch) logs. Bake for 35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick diagonal slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the same baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are pale golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the pan does not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Dip the end of each biscotti in the chocolate. Transfer the dipped biscotti to a wire rack, set over a baking sheet, until the chocolate has hardened. Store in an airtight container.

Savory Biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, herbes de Provence, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and goat cheese together until smooth. Beat in the sugar and eggs. In batches, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. With damp hands, form the dough into a 13-inch-long, 3 1/2-inch-wide loaf. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.
Transfer the loaf to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the log on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Pepper Parmigiano Biscotti
1½ Tablespoons whole black peppercorns
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
4½ ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (2¼ cups)
1½ sticks  cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk

 Put oven racks and upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse peppercorns in grinder until coarsely ground.Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups of the cheese, and 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and quarter dough. Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log (about 2 inches wide and ¾-inch high). Transfer logs to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart.
Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining ¼ cup cheese and ½ Tablespoon ground pepper. Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Carefully transfer one warm log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.

That's me, "baking it up" in the Atlanta kitchen!

1 comment:

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