Biscotti is good, no matter how you eat it
Published 12:36 pm Monday, April 30, 2018
Today’s recipe was pulled from my extra thick folder of dessert recipes I hope to prepare at some point in time.
— 1/2 cup butter, softened
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— 1 cup sugar
— 3 large eggs, divided
— 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
— 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
— 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
— 1/4 teaspoon salt
— 1/2 cup chopped pecans
— 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until combined. Stir in chopped pecans. (Dough will be Sticky.)
On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into a 12×4 inch log. Place on prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat remaining egg; brush over log. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 27 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut log crosswise into ½ to ¾ inch thick slices. Place slices on baking sheet, cut sides down. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for 15 minutes longer. Remove from pan and cool slices completely on wire rack.
I’d torn the recipe from the May/June 2011 issue of a Paula Deen magazine.
I’m sure I saved this recipe because I love pecans and I like biscotti. Not to mention, I love to bake and eat sweets; I think I could live on them.
It was Sunday afternoon, and I was sitting on the couch after cleaning our lunch dishes.
I decided to flip through the large pile of dessert recipes I’ve collected over the years. When I saw this recipe for biscotti, I had to go ahead and make it.
Biscotti is an Italian cookie that is typically dry and crisp. It’s used by a lot of people for dunking into a cup of hot coffee or tea.
The recipe calls for softened butter and I didn’t want to wait, so I tried a new trick: grating the stick of butter into a large mixing bowl, then because it was a nice day, I placed the covered bowl on our front porch to speed the process even more.
The bowl had been on the porch about 15 minutes when I checked it. To my surprise, the butter was almost to the point of being melted.
I brought the bowl into the kitchen, added the sugar and turned on my stand mixer.
While the mixer did its magic, I lined a small sheet pan with parchment paper and chopped the pecans with my handy dandy food chopper.
After a few short minutes, the butter and sugar were nice and fluffy, so I added the other ingredients, following the recipe.
When it was time to add the pecans, instead of stirring them in by hand, I just dumped them into the bowl and let the mixer do the work.
When the dough was together, instead of dumping it out onto a floured surface, I formed it into a ball and placed it on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
I formed the ball into a 12×4 inch log (measuring it to be sure it was the right size), then I brushed the top with the egg mixture.
After a little bit of searching, I found a box of sugar in the raw (turbinado sugar) in the back of my baking cabinet. I measured 2 tablespoons and sprinkled it all over the dough, thinking to myself it was a lot of sugar.
The oven was preheated, so I slid the dough in and set the timer for 27 minutes. When the timer sounded, I peeked in and decided to let it cook three more minutes.
When time was up, I removed the biscotti from the oven and placed it on a cooling rack.
It was about three hours by the time the biscotti was completely cool.
I gathered my serrated knife and my kitchen ruler. I placed the ruler beside the biscotti and began to cut the baked dough. I think I sliced most of the pieces about 3/4-inch thick instead of 1/2-inch thick.
I placed all but one piece of the biscotti on a baking pan, without parchment paper, and returned it to the 300-degree preheated oven.
The recipe author mentioned if you prefer to forgo the dunking, you can omit the second bake time for a softer cookie, that’s why I held out one piece of the biscotti.
While the biscotti was on its second baking, Brad and I tried the softer version. Of course I liked it and Brad even said it was good. He doesn’t typically like sweets, but he said it wasn’t too sweet, even with the sugar on top.
After the biscotti had baked for 15 minutes, I used a pair of small tongs to flip each piece. This took some finesse because the cookies had softened and they wanted to break apart, so I took my time flipping each one. In hindsight, maybe I should have used a small spatula instead.
I slid the baking pan of cookies back into the oven, and after another 15 minutes, I removed them. They were still soft and hadn’t browned much.
Hesitantly, I flipped them again and put them back in to bake for 15 more minutes.
I removed the biscotti from the oven and placed it on a cooling rack. Before heading to bed, I put the cooked biscotti in a container.
Some biscotti I’ve seen in the stores has been dipped or drizzled with chocolate. I asked Brad if he thought that would be a good idea, and he did.
The next morning, I had to try a piece of the biscotti before heading to work.
I don’t drink coffee or hot tea, so I didn’t dunk the cookie in anything, I just ate it. It was quite crunchy, like it’s supposed to be.
But while I was eating it, I decided I would make it again that evening and only bake it for 30 minutes during the second baking time.
The recipe is simple and wasn’t time consuming. I just wanted to see how it would turn out if baked according to the recipe.
Before Brad left for work, we placed some pieces in a bag so he could hand them out to a few of his co-workers who have become my taste testers.
When I got home from work that evening, I got busy making the second batch of biscotti. The process went smoothly.
Brad got home while the biscotti was cooling after the first baking time. He let me know the taste testers at his office gave the biscotti mixed reviews, some loved it and Donna, one of my long-time faithful taste testers, said it was OK — she might like it more if it was dunked in coffee, but she doesn’t drink coffee.
When it came time for us to taste the second batch of biscotti, Brad and I thought it was just as good as the first; though it was a little softer.
Since I had some time after making the second batch, I melted chocolate to dip and drizzle over some of the pieces. This was a fairly simple process: melt chocolate (I did it in the microwave), drizzle or dip biscotti, let cool, eat.
Brad and I both liked the dipped version but didn’t think it made the biscotti better.
I took some pieces from both batches of the biscotti to work with me the next day and everyone who tried it loved it.
I nailed this recipe and it might just make it to one of the pot-luck meals coming up at church next month.