Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Did It! Almond Apricot Biscotti with Chocolate Specks

Almond, Apricot Biscotti

 I was afraid to make these because everyone had no problems making them and I was sure, I would be the first failure.  I didn't even take pictures of the process, I had such bad vibes.  This would have been a terrible experience if I had not been so elated at the results.

My husband has been adamantly against my baking these and even told me not to make them gluten free because he would not eat them.  I have almost never seen him take such a firm stand about something rather unimportant.  He did not want biscotti.

Being the good wife, I did not make them gluten free and ha ha on him. They are delicious. His concern was that they would be too dry. I looked at several recipes and the truth be told, most of them did look like they would come out too dry. The lightening finally hit and I went to where I always go when in doubt. Yeah for King Arthur's Flour.

I could write pages of tribute to King Arthur. Every recipe from that site has turned out to be the best. You all remember those chocolate chip cookies. I, also use King Arthur's Flour for baking hints and tips and I am learning a lot from this site. I own the King Arthur's books and that is where I first found this recipe and was doubly thrilled to find it, online, so I would not have to type it over.

The King Arthur's Baking Companion - The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook, is over 600 pages but you will find me cuddling it, in bed, before I go to sleep. Poor I read it like a novel except that I take it at its word. No, I do not get a commission from King Arthur.

Back to my biscotti. The minute I saw, this had butter in it, I knew it would work and would not be too dry. As much as I despise fat and use applesauce, in place of it,often, I don't play around with new recipes too much and I would use the margarine (in my case) in this one.

This is the recipe and I did make a few modifications. First, I cut the recipe in half (bad move - they were so good, I could have had more.) I also substituted all margarine instead of some shortening. It still worked. I will comment as I follow the recipe, here.

Traditional Italian Biscotti (Almond, Apricot with Chocolate Flecks) (I am not halving the recipe here)

1/2 cup margarine ( I doubled this,using margarine and eliminated shortening)

 3/4 cup  granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon butter flavored extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups  King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

3/4 cup blanched almonds  toasted* and coarsely chopped

3/4 cup dried apricots

1/2 cup chocolate, flaked with mandolin (did not add taste but added good looks)

*Toast almonds or hazelnuts by placing them in a single layer on an ungreased pan and baking them in a preheated 350°F oven for 7 to 10 minutes, or until they smell "toasty" and are beginning to brown.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and shortening margarine and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl midway through.

Beat in the extracts, baking powder and salt.

Mix in the flour, 1 cup at a time, till you have a cohesive, well-blended dough.

Add the nuts, apricots and chocolate mixing till they're well-distributed throughout the dough.

Transfer the dough to a work surface (we don't bother to flour the surface; the dough is sticky, but is easily scraped up with a bench knife or dough scraper). I had to add flour. I could not get a grasp on it unless I diminished the slippery quality)

Divide it into three fairly equal pieces, and shape each piece into a rough 10-inch log.

Transfer each log to a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches between each log; you may need to use two baking sheets.

Wet your fingers, and pat the logs into smooth-topped rectangles 10 inches long x 2 1/2 inches wide x 7/8 inch thick.

Bake the logs in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're beginning to brown around the edges.

Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool for 30 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

Gently transfer the logs to a cutting surface, and use a serrated knife to cut them on the diagonal into 1/2-inch wide slices.

Because of the nuts and the nature of the dough, the biscotti at this point are prone to crumbling; just be sure to use a slow, gentle sawing motion, and accept the fact that some bits and pieces will break off. (It's the privilege of the cook to eat these warm, tasty bits and pieces as they're created.)

Carefully transfer the slices, cut sides up (and down) to a parchment-lined (makes cleanup easier) or ungreased baking sheet.

You can crowd them together, as they won't expand further; about 1/4-inch breathing space is all that's required.

Return the biscotti to the 300°F oven, and bake them for 20 minutes.

Remove them from the oven, quickly turn them over, and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until they're very dry and beginning to brown.

Remove them from the oven, cool completely, and store in an airtight container. Yield: about 60 biscotti.

They taste wonderful and I am so glad I made these.


Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

Chaya,ur biscotti looks great and yeah u did make it and now after reading ur post hope i make it too...yeah am real late again this month but its holidays and we running from the kitchen to the table to weddings to visiting and its so muc fun....
And in my oven now sits this lovely cake which am gng to post about soon....
Ur potato recipe rocks and looks good-blogger still bugging on my laptop and cant leave in hi (oh no not again) at ur blog....
Cheers and happy hols....

Joanne said...

I am SO glad you made these as well! They came out excellently!

Amehlia Digital ! ® said...

I love biscotti!:)
Happy 2010!
Beijos (kisses)!
Vinni/ Brasil

rena said...

They look beautiful and kudos to you for making them!

KAF Customer Service said...

Thanks for thinking of us, but I think you have got this one down. Beautiful! Frank @ KAF, baker/blogger

Aux délices des gourmets said...

un beau blog de bonnes recettes à noter
bonnes fêtes de fin d'année

Tina said...

Congratulations! They Look Gorgeous! I'm so happy they turned out well for you!

Colleen said...

Another thing I learned about combating the biscotti dryness-leave out the last baking cycle! They are still crunchy but keep a little more chewiness to them.
My aunt did it by mistake and they were sooooo good!

Kristin said...

I am a biscotti addict and that sounds amazing!

Jane said...

I know what you mean about King Arthur! I love their recipes, their products, their website, etc.! Good thing you did NOT follow the hubby's advice this time! Biscotti is yummy and keeps so well. I'm glad you took the plunge!

:) Jane

Jen said...

they look delicious!