Thursday, December 31, 2009

December Roundup

Here we are on the eve of a New Year! I wish you all a happy new year and look forward to what 2010 brings... in the kitchen :)

Congrats to all the biscotti bakers. Great pick Colleen! It's the perfect holiday treat.


Posted by -sugar plum fairy

Whew....i actually finally did it what with my lappy bugging and dont ask me how many times it hung and how many times i uploaded the pics and how many drafts got saved w/o the pics,with me jus trying to save one....whew!!!!

And though my i did it!!! inspiration was Chaya..i actually did it -applies to my whole situation here....

Italian biscotti has held my attention from my very first crunchy bite...its different and didn think one day i'd bake 'em some day and here today on the thresh no...have crossed the thresh hold of baking 'em...

I say this coz a few decembers back,i think it was high school,i looked in awe at the biscotti lined up at an absolutely cute chocolatey quaint hand baked stuff home bakery and in awe of the gorgeous baker too-she's really good and we have picked up her goodies many a time...

And here we get biscotti only at the resorte cake shops otherwise and then i read about this great biscotti maker in new delhi who baked for the who's who and page 3 of delhi ,even Mrs.SOnia Gandhi...need i say more....i had his number too but never did really end up ordering from him....

THere are 2 reasons am baking a biscotti,ofcourz i always wanted too but this month at this LOVELY GROUP-HAVE THE CAKE-which am so proud to be a part of -Collen picked on biscotti and i was very thrilled about this one but u know coming from a land of more chai than cafe drinkers i still haven spotted chai spice on the shelves so was on the look out for a good recipe...and am more into a bite of choco chips and jam yeah....

On my journey of baking 12 cookies i bumped into another fantastic blog-SUSANS...and she had a cookie festival on...its great and i send all my cookies in there and so did she have a great post on biscotti making......

And honestly she had me at 'traditional'.......

Loved her step by step recipe-a first timer needed it & it had me going the nutty choco way jus what i had planned in for and the tweety tweaky that am i halved the almonds to accomodate my mix of milk & semi sweet choco chips.....gorgeous truly.....


3/4 CUP CHOCO CHIPS(MILK & semisweet)
A FEW PODS OF CARDOMON SEED WHOLE(great addition of flvour)
1)Preheat oven to 350 degress f.
Place almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 10-14 mins.
2)In a small bowl whisk eggs with vanilla ,till well blended.
3)Now i a large bowl.hand mix toasted almonds(now a little cooled),choco chips,sugars,cinnamon,flour and baking powder.
Add the whisked eggs.(SAVE A WEE BIT TO BRUSH THE TOPS)
4)Work batter together with lightly floured hands and it'll be sticky here but keep going by squeezing the batter with ur hands till a dough starts to come together
(i love these little but v imp details Susan has taken care of coz for a 1st timer like me i know exactly what to expect)
5)Once the dough is nice and firm,divide into 2 equal pieces and shape into logs.
6)Now here what i did was that since my dough was already kneaded well instead of adding my choco chippys to in corporate to the dough i dug 'em in between for a chocolate layer.(didnt get the chocolate layer throughout though)
7)Brushed the tops with beaten egg(i saved a bit of the egg beaten with vanilla)
8)Now bake in a pre-heated oven for around 35mins -4o mins and cool for 20-30 mins before u begin to slice 'em.
9)Now my slicing wasnt perfect and i did have a few breakages ,though i did follow a the cutting with a serrated knife in a see-saw fashion and however much id love to blame the poor knife guess it was me!
10)Bake again for 30mins and let cool in the warm oven-they were just right for our crunchy crispy palatte.

Love the word Biscotti -twice baked -coz this is what i do all the time coz i love 'em crunchy cookies so so much....
Ok the melted butter is an addition to the recipe after i read Chaya's post-infact almost had made her recipe but my next biscotti is definately from kaf,thanx to Chaya..they look good.

I substituted baking soda for powder coz the best cookie i have baked have soda in'em and then thought maybe im wrong and added a pinch of baking powder but guess my pinch wasnt really a pinch cozwhen they were warm they had this barely there after taste which vanished later,thank God!

A few things i learnt about melting chocolate ,was melting milk choco for these cookies the other day and added a few drops water instead of the butter i planned and there i had a roughly mess so added a few tsps of milk and the damage was reversed....
So though i had thought i would dip a few in chocolate i thought a simple coconut sugar frosting would go with the taste so had confectioners sugar with warmed coconut milk and a vanilla bean and loved this flavour so muc-it wen well with my biscotti...

AInt very happy with my pics this time ,though have jus been gifted a digi cam by my fly-maybe its me ,have yet to get the hang of macro shooting,i hope its me and not the camera :-(((

aND friends will u please please please take a few moments and vote for me HERE for this months I HEART CUPPY CAKKES...please dont say no and the deadlines 1st Jan...

Or head straight to SWEETEST KITCHEN and vote for me at the right hand side poll.(sugar at vanillastrawberryspringfields)yeah i do value ur time and am grateful for ur vote-thanx a ton....
And i simply am too bubbling over not to mention this one,have just recieved My VERY FIRST AWARD from lovely biscotti is jus next to mine at have the cake) and within a few hours (ok say 24)i recieve my second from Geri of Heart and soul cooking-oh i cant thank u'll enough ,both wonderfull buddies whose blogs i love but yeah will post all about it soon ,am working on it already and th little delay is for a little gesture am going to do along with the posts so u will read about it in a bit(please give me time)and yeah will pass on both the awards to my wonderful friends soonnnnnn......

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.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chocolate-Dipped (Chocolate) Cranberry and Pistachio(Almond) Biscotti

Some people had 12 weeks of Christmas cookies.
Other people had 12 days.
In typical "me" fashion, I threw caution to the wind. And had 12 hours.

It all began at 9 AM on Wednesday, the 23rd. When Sophie ran into me in the kitchen as I was shelling what seemed like my 500th pistachio (and to think the morning had just begun) I informed her that if she found me later that day either (a) in a sugar coma from "taste testing" batch after batch of cookie dough or (b) covered in flour and mumbling incoherently about the melting properties of white chocolate (something I learned - there is a narrow range between the melting and burning points of white chocolate. About two seconds too long in the microwave, to be precise, and your white chocolate is no longer white. Although if you're a good enough liar, all is not lost. You can probably convince everyone that those brown speckles are just large chunks of vanilla bean. And then hope they don't notice when you insist on only eating the non-speckled cookies.) she shouldn't be too alarmed. But she should probably check the oven. Just in case.
The excellent thing about biscotti is that they store extremely well (they are so dry and hard that they basically start off stale) and are pretty resilient. There are also about five thousand types you can make, from sweet to savory varieties, and so there is certainly a biscotti out there for everyone (unless you are Sophie, in which case you don't like the hard texture. Remedy - I fed her the ends as I was cutting the biscotti before the second bake. I also tried to feed her cookie dough so that I wouldn't eat it, but she has this aversion to raw eggs. Weird.).

For my flavors this year, I decided to go with a cranberry and pistachio theme. With a few variations thrown into the mix, of course. So in the end, I had one batch of Chocolate Pistachio, one batch of Cranberry Pistachio and one batch of Cranberry Almond. All dipped in both white and dark chocolate.

I am nothing if not an equal opportunist when it comes to chocolate.

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
Makes a lot, adapted from Everyday Food (via Culinary in the Desert)

2 cups AP flour
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shelled pistachios
4 ounces dark chocolate chunks
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in pistachio nuts.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, vanilla and cocoa powder. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. If the dough is too stiff to mix with a spoon, use your hands to bring it together.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons granulated sugar onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Evenly divide dough into two pieces - place each onto the baking sheet and shape into 2 12" long logs that are roughly 2 1/2" wide. Flatten logs slightly. Scatter the top of each with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Place into the oven and bake until the loaves are firm to the touch, about 16 to 22 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Use a serrated knife to cut the loaves into roughly 1/2" thick diagonal slices. Place slices upright on baking sheet and place back into the oven to bake until crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer slices to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cranberry Pistachio (or Almond) Biscotti
Makes a lot, adapted from Bon Appetit

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel (I used 1/2 tsp orange extract)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon whole aniseed (I used 1 tsp cinnamon and I think it was actually crucial to how good these were)
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 cup shelled pistachios (or sliced almonds)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift first 3 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl to blend well. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in lemon peel (orange extract), vanilla, and aniseed (cinnamon). Beat in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in cranberries and pistachios (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Gather dough together; divide in half. Roll each half into 15-inch-long log (about 1 1/4 inches wide). Carefully transfer logs to 1 prepared baking sheet, spacing 3 inches apart.

Bake logs until almost firm to touch but still pale, about 28 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet 10 minutes. Lower oven to 325.

Carefully transfer logs still on parchment to cutting board. Using serrated knife and gentle sawing motion, cut logs crosswise into generous 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place slices, 1 cut side down, on remaining 2 prepared sheets. Bake until firm and pale golden, about 9 minutes per side. Transfer cookies to racks and cool.

For White or Dark Chocolate Dipped Versions

When cookies are cool, pour either white or dark chocolate chips/chunks (or any other flavor of chips/chunks) into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high, stopping every 20 seconds to stir. When the chips are melted, dip one end of the cookie into the chocolate goo and then place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet to cool. When a sheet is full, pop it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to a half hour to let the chocolate harden.

This is my entry for Have the Cake, the theme of which for this month is biscotti!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti

Posted by - Tina

The Least Eventful Have the Cake thus far for me! :) Yay!!

No disasters to report, and other than a bit of neglect ruining the first batch of dark chocolate dip (which was quickly remedied by the 2nd bar of dark chocolate being melted - No Problemo, baby!), It was a breeze!

I made Tori's recipe for chocolate biscotti, but I modified it slightly - I didn't add chocolate chips, but I made it with cranberries and walnuts, and dipped one side in dark chocolate.

The sprinkle of powdered sugar is just to make it festive.

Yay & Yum for Home-Made Christmas Presents!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

I borrowed a coworker's recipe and baked double chocolate walnut biscotti this month for Have The Cake. I'm bringing them to my mom's house for Christmas tomorrow. Todd is a chocolate addict, and much of our holiday desserts are cocoa-free, so I thought I'd throw him a bone with this one. No one has tasted these yet, but I have sampled them thoroughly, and deem them a success!

I tried to take pictures throughout, but the pile of raw dough really doesn't look appetizing in the photo, so I'm not posting it. Below is a view of the logs, pre-baking.

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the logs post-baking but before cutting. They basically looked like steaming loaves of chocolate bread. Nothin' wrong with that.

And here are a couple of shots of the biscotti cooling on the cookie sheet right after they came out after the second bake. I could have baked them a minute or two longer the second time around to get a real crunch, but I was afraid to over do it. They are quite good, so I won't complain.

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup walnut, chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 350 F and butter and flour a large baking sheet.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined well. Stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

On prepared baking sheet with floured hands form dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide, and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Bake logs 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet 5 minutes.

On a cutting board cut biscotti diagonally into 3/4 inch slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool biscotti on a rack. Biscotti keep in airtight containers 1 week (frozen, 1 month).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Biscotti

Posted by - Jen ;) from Pieces of Me


Adapted from Holiday Biscotti


* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 large eggs
* 3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
* 2/3 cup dried cranberries
* 12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
* Red and green sugar crystals, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.

The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

*My Note: I did not add pistachios because they were WAY too expensive! And I do not like white chocolate so I dipped them in milk chocolate. I left some without chocolate to have with coffee as well. And can you believe, I could not find red or green sugar? ugh! but anyway, this was fun! I think the Lemon and Cranberries made these the perfect cookie!

They were absolutely delicious!! =)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Almond and Lemon Biscotti

Posted by - Nancy

Hello! This is my first month participating in the challenge and I was excited to make biscotti. I had never made biscotti before and while the recipe that was posted looked good, I had a lot of lemons gifted to me recently (ah, the joys of living in southern California in December), so I was hoping to find a lemony biscotti recipe. I turned to my friends at the Food Network and wouldn’t you know, Giada had a recipe for Almond and Lemon Biscotti.

The recipe was basically the same so I started out by whisking my dry ingredients together and zesting my 3 lemons. I beat my sugar and eggs in my mixer and then added the other ingredients.

Ready for the oven

After 50 minutes in the oven

Melting the chocolate

After I zested my lemons I didn't want to waste them so I juiced them to add to my lemonade in the fridge. Right before I poured the juice in I thought that it might be nice to make some "lemon sugar" to sprinkle on top of the biscotti. I took about a quarter of a cup of sugar and a teaspoon of lemon juice and mixed them together. Then I put the sugar on some foil to dry. It was a bit clumpy but once it was dry I simply broke up the clumps and it was good to go. I sprinkled it over the chocolate before it set up.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chai Biscotti

I actually got it together and completed this month's challenge early! I'm glad I did; this recipe was easy, fairly quick and turned out to be quite tasty. I used a spicy chai tea and Cointreau for the orange liqueur (only the best for my biscotti). I think any tea would work really nicely with this recipe so I plan on experimenting with others.

I was a little nervous as I mixed up all the ingredients: The recipe said the mixture was dry and crumbly but it seemed excessively dry which made it kind of hard to shape in to the rolls.
They were very imperfect looking as they entered the oven for the first baking phase.After baking for 30 minutes and letting them cool, they cut up fairly easily and then went back in the oven for bake #2.Flipped them after ten minutes, baked another ten and voila: Chai Tea Biscotti! Super tasty-can't wait to enjoy with a nice cup of warm tea or cocoa (or my morning coffee),

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Challenge: Biscotti!

I figure this month everyone will be over pies (apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan…) from Thanksgiving and be super-busy making all those yummy Christmas and Holiday cookies. So, with this in mind, I tried to think of something not too heavy, could freeze well and might be nice to have on hand for Holiday vistors (oh, AND something I’ve never made before-trying to stick with the rules, :) ).

There are a ton of recipes out there so I figured everyone would want to pick their preference. Here’s the recipe I’m going to give a go; it combines my love of Chai tea and cookies all in one:


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon loose Chai spice tea or orange spice tea (about 3 tea bags)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur) or orange juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (flour through allspice) in a large bowl. Combine the oil, liqueur, and eggs, and add to the flour mixture, stirring until well-blended (the dough will be dry and crumbly). Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 7 or 8 times. Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into an 8-inch-long roll. Place rolls 6 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; flatten each roll to 1-inch thickness.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove the rolls from baking sheet; cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 15 (1/2-inch) slices. Place the slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°; bake 10 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (the cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.