Thursday, April 17, 2014

Biscotti. It's not just for coffee drinkers

New baking challenges are fun, especially when the process is not difficult and the end result is not just edible but down right tasty.
Last summer I tried baking biscotti for the first time and have made it about once a month, or more, ever since.
I had never even tasted it but decided to bake a batch and give it a try. I always thought it was just for coffee drinkers/dunkers...which I am neither.
I would describe it as a crispy version of a slice of quick bread and better for you than a fried pastry.
So I encourage you to put down the donut and try some biscotti!

Cranberry Pecan Biscotti
Ingredients:
1 large orange
1/2 c dried cranberries
6 T butter, softened
1 c sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c pecans, chopped
1 egg, beaten
large crystal sugar
Directions:
Roll orange on counter, pressing down to "soften". 
Grate the orange rind and squeeze the juice of the orange into a bowl. 
Heat in microwave for about 15 seconds. Add cranberries, put aside.
Cream butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Stir in vanilla.
Combine dry ingredients and add to batter, mixing on low speed.
Pour off most of the juice from the cranberries and add to the batter along with the nuts.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; divide in half.
Shape each piece of dough into a 16x2" log.
Place each piece of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush dough with beaten egg & sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake at 375º for 25 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.
Transfer to wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temp to 300º.
Place biscotti logs on cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2" thick slices.
Place on a wire rack, cut side down. Place rack on baking sheet.
Bake until firm to touch, about 30 minutes.
Store cooled biscotti in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Caramel Macchiato Biscotti
Ingredients:
6 T butter, softened
1 c sugar
3 eggs
2 t espresso powder
1 T vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 T warm water
3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 c Kraft caramel bits
1 egg, beaten
turbinado sugar
Directions:
Cream the butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate each.
Stir in espresso powder, vanilla and water.
Combine dry ingredients and add to batter.
Mix in caramel bits.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; divide in half.
Shape each piece into a 16x2" log.
Place each piece of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush dough with egg & sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake at 375º for 25 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.
Transfer to wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temp to 300º.
Place biscotti logs on cutting board. 
Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2" thick slices.
Place on a wire rack, cut side down. Place rack on baking sheet.
Bake until firm to touch, about 30 minutes. 
Store cooled biscotti in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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