Monday, December 03, 2007

Biscotti Baking Bonanza

There's always a million holiday tasks to tackle. Which to do first!? I was in the mood for some baking.

What? This doesn't look like biscotti. You're right. These are peppermint bark cups. And duh, I took the photo and then put the pretty peppermint sprinkles on top. Imagine them all aglitter.

I always bake the traditional anise flavored biscotti. They might look a little blah but the taste and texture are scrumptious. I've never found another biscotti I like as much as this one. I got the recipe from my ex-little-ol'-Italian-mother-in-law. Usually I just triple the recipe and make enough to last through the holidays. People are always impressed that I bake my own biscotti. The honest truth - I hate admitting this - they really aren't difficult to make. Just a bit time consuming.

This year I thought I'd try some experimenting. I quadrupled the basic recipe and then split it into four batches before adding any flavoring. The first batch I made up into the traditional cookie. The other three I tweaked into new recipes. I had a few moisture issues when adding liquid flavors or fruit but they weren't major. I think a lot of it was caused by being impatient and not cooking each batch separately or long enough. I made up for it by leaving the cut cookies in a bit longer on the second bake and they all turned out just fine. In fact, more than fine.

These are almond flavored with sliced almonds. They were the most bland of the three newcomers. Next time I'd add more almond flavoring. Don't get me wrong, they'd still be great with a hot cup of coffee or tea. They just didn't have the little extra zing of the other flavors. I added a topping of vanilla almond bark and that did the trick.

These cranberry pecan biscotti look less well dressed but they are really yummy! I used half white and half whole wheat flour and so these have a real rich "muffin" flavor.

Now these.... oops, these aren't biscotti. These are my boxes of chocolates from the Chocolate Festival. They look rummaged through in this photo from last night. Uhm, you should see how crumpled and pawed through they look now!

Ah, here we go, back to biscotti. These are my favorite of the three new flavors. They are orange pecan. And orange loves dark chocolate. I started by dipping one end of each cookie, which looked nice but predictable. Then I got this striping technique down and voila! I call these Orange Tabbies. Oh, I'm sooooo clever! I'm feeling very smug about how pretty they turned out.

The biscotti eating family won't descend upon us for several weeks but I make them so early because biscotti are such a long lasting treat. They are best accompanying a good hot cup of your favorite beverage. Hmmmm. I think I'll go put on the tea kettle.



Blogger Paul-ene said...

YUMMY! These treats look so good! I love Biscotti with a nice cup of coffee(my fav treat)!

12:44 AM  
Blogger :-D eirdre said...

not only do I want the recipe for the bark. I also expect a box of biscotti to be flying its way east for YULE~

I know you have my address!
:-D eirdre

5:58 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I made biscotti for the first time...I don't know if it was the altitude or what but the batter was just too dry and wouldn't stick together. I added water, turned to mud like consistancy. They looked nothing like your tiny masterpieces.

7:20 AM  
Blogger jmail said...

First time commenter (is that a word?) This almond-anise biscotti recipe is my fave too, we made 5 batches this year to keep up with demand. I also make a few chocolate ones. I really like the striping idea, I put a reminder on my Palm to do that for next year.

For those out there having biscotti troubles, make sure you let the log cool for 10 mins before slicing into it.

4:42 AM  

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