been a while since I've done a post. Did you miss me? I don't really
have a good excuse (unless having a baby still counts? can I still use
that when he's 10 months old?) aside from the fact that it is too damn
hot to cook. Still, I take my duty as a BLK-er seriously, so I finally looked through the list and decided to make biscotti.
The first time I had biscotti, I was at a coffee shop in college. It looked so tasty, and I was so excited to have it with my iced coffee . . . yeah. I don't think I fully grasped the biscotti concept, which is that they're kind of crunchy, and you're supposed to dip them in your hot coffee to make them a little softer. Oops. Although, considering the shop I was in, it's possible mine was a little overcooked. But, that was enough to scare me off of ever making them myself.
The basic biscotti concept seems simple enough - flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and whatever ingredients you want to make them unique - mixed together, and then baked twice: first as a big log of dough, then sliced into little biscotti and baked individually to get them crisped up.
Anyway, I chose this ginger-almond biscotti recipe from Gourmet, mostly because I actually had all the ingredients (it is possible that my lack of posting has been due to sheer laziness. You can come to your own conclusions.) It also is a somewhat healthier recipe, since it only has one egg and one egg white, while other recipes I looked at had two whole eggs (although, let's not kid ourselves, these are not a health food or anything).
I chopped my almonds, and browned them a little in our toaster oven. Then I measured out the half cup of crystallized ginger:
. . . oops. So much for having everything I needed. Then I measured out all the dry ingredients into a bowl, and realized the ingredients said to "sift them into the bowl." D'oh. So I just poured them through my sifter into another bowl - that counts, right? Whatever. So I added the flour to the egg mixture, then the ginger and almonds. And I ended up with this:
Hello? Dough? Where are you? There were maybe two cups of dough (or is it batter?) in the bottom of the bowl. I was sure this would not bode well for my biscotti making adventure. Next, the recipe told me to spread the batter in a large loaf pan for the first bake. This made no sense to me - it seemed like I would end up with maybe a dozen short, fat biscotti. So I took some commenters' advice and spread it out into my own loaf on my cookie sheet. I use the term "spread" loosely; this batter was THICK. Paste-y. Almost like the soft-ball stage of candy making, except I have never made candy so that's completely made up. I was sure this was yet another indicator of imminent failure.
I stuck my sticky loaf in the oven and ran off to pick Jack up from daycare and Tom from the metro. Surely, I thought, the loaf will burn while I'm gone and this will be a total disaster! But, no; I got home right when it was time to take it out. After I let the biscotti loaf cool a little, I used our big fancy bread knife to slice it. Gourmet recommends cutting it 1/8 of an inch thick. I recommend ignoring that and cutting it as thick as you want. I ended up somewhere in the 1/4-1/2 inch range, and my biscotti were gigantic because I had made my original loaf too wide. Lesson learned! Next time I will make my loaf more. . . loaf-like.
I stuck them back in the oven for 15 minutes or so to crisp up. I took them out and
let them cool . . . not at all, and had a taste - delicious! After all the near-misses, this recipe turned out really well. Not too
gingery, and the almonds add a nice crunch if not the most almond-y
flavor. The only sad part was that I left them out overnight in our
super hot, muggy condo, and the crunchy biscotti turned into slightly
chewy biscotti. Which was actually perfect for me - no hot coffee required!
Oh and a side note - the recipe doesn't mention how many biscotti this makes. I got about twenty of various sizes, but a more uniform, non-crazy sized loaf would probably yield a lot more.
Side note #2: my partner in crime is too busy cruising around the Caribbean to make any clever comments on my post, so you'll have to imagine your own.