quick and easy biscotti
July 3, 2012 § 11 Comments
What? An Alice Medrich recipe that doesn’t use chocolate! This Tuesday’s Baking with Julia recipe surprised (and pleased) me in another way too. I’ve never thought of biscotti (which means “twice cooked” in Italian) as being particularly easy or quick to make, but this recipe was both. Plus, it adapted well to a couple of changes I made, one being the addition of chocolate. After all, it is an Alice Medrich recipe.
Separately assemble the dry and wet ingredients. I substituted some whole grain flour for some of the white, and honey for the sugar. I reduced the amount of sweetener by almost half, since honey is both sweeter and denser than the same volume of sugar. There is a bit of baking soda in this recipe, which leavens the biscotti slightly giving it a less than rock hard texture that other butter-less biscotti have. If you need your biscotti to stand up to a dunk in your morning coffee, you can leave the baking soda out.
Add any variations you’d like to the appropriate wet or dry ingredient mix. I chose a very fragrant olive oil for both flavor and a little richness, and an orange liqueur to accompany the vanilla. Bittersweet chocolate chips went into the dry along with some whole already toasted hazelnuts I brought home from Portland OR (this also helped make the prep quick and easy)!
In classic dump-and-mix style, pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredient bowl. I used a bowl scraper to easily mix just until I got a fairly stiff but sticky dough.
Using well-floured hands, I shaped and patted the half portions of dough right onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Whoops! I goofed and had the oven at 350ºF for the first bake, instead of 300°.
It’s important to let the logs cool long enough to settle so they don’t crumble when you slice them, but not so long that they harden and then shatter under the knife. Alice has a good trick to place the slices on a cooling rack set over the baking sheet for the second bake. It only took 10 minutes to dry the biscotti slices, and I certainly didn’t want any more color on them. I like the look you get when you slice whole nuts in biscotti.
And that was it! If you need an unfussy cookie to enjoy with ice cream or coffee, you’ll find the original recipe here and here. To keep it easy, skip the blanching of the hazelnuts in baking soda water and just bake them for 10-15 minutes at 350ºF and then rub off their skins while still warm in an old towel (they’ll stain). Just don’t forget to turn down the oven.