I've been wanting to make biscotti for a long time. Ted seems to recall that I made them once or twice a couple of years ago, but I have no recollection of ever doing it. Who knows. These days, I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch, let alone what I did "a couple of years ago".
Yesterday I had lunch with my friend Mona. She's recently mastered the croissant. Yes, she's that friend. The one who's really good at things. Anyway, we got to talking about biscotti. Of course, Mona mastered biscotti long ago so she was able to provide me with a good recipe and a little guidance.
"The dough is very sticky. Use lots of flour." Point taken.
"I like to turn them over halfway through the second baking," she told me. Needless to say, there was no way I wasn't going to follow her advice.
So, after spinning class today, (yes, I go to spinning class), I got to work on the biscotti. I meticulously followed the instructions, which I don't always do but really is a good idea when baking, and rolled out the logs on a floured counter. Halfway through the second baking I flipped the biscotti over.
And you know what, they came out perfectly. I mean, really perfectly. They're gorgeous and they taste good; a little chewy in the center and crisp around the edges. I'm so proud.
Now, having mastered chocolate chip biscotti, the world is my oyster. I'm going to try my hand at some other biscotti recipes. But not before talking to Mona first.
Recipe: Chocolate Chip Biscotti
(Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray, 1997)
Note: This recipe makes enough biscotti for an army but they keep forever. Follow Mona's advice and use lots of flour to roll out the logs and turn the biscotti over halfway through the second baking.
1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
Gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts, if desired.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a loaf about 12 inches long. Place loaves on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spacing them 3 inches apart. Brush the tops of the loaves with water and sprinkle with a bit of additional sugar, if desired.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven.
Let the loaves cool. Place the cooled loaves on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice each loaf diagonally into 1/2-inch-wide slices.
Place slices in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Return to the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Cool toasted biscotti on a wire cooking rack. Store in an airtight container.
Bakes approximately 45 cookies.