As most cookbooks probably proclaim, biscotti means twice baked. Yesterday, I was twice baking, all day long. While it sounds exotic and difficult to make, the thing about biscotti is that it’s pretty easy to produce. On yesterday’s agenda was double chocolate and cranberry pistachio twice baked cookies.
One might think that minus the special ingredients, i.e the chocolate or the cranberries and pistachio, the recipes would be similar; there is, however, enough of a difference between the recipes that I’m not quite at the stage of having a master recipe that is tweaked per specialty.
Take the cranberry pistachio biscotti for instance. That recipe calls for 3 eggs (plus a fourth for ‘washing’ the biscotti), the chocolate only requires 2 eggs. The dough also has to be kneaded before splitting it in half and creating 2 logs on the baking sheet, that step isn’t called for with the chocolate biscotti. And, there’s the egg wash; the double chocolate biscotti topping was a dusting of powdered sugar while the cranberry pistachio cookie calls for an egg wash. There’s also a difference in cooking temperatures — the chocolate was cooked at 350 and the second baking only took 10 minutes; the cranberry cooked at 325 with the second baking taking approximately 20 minutes with a flipping of the cookie in the middle.
I’m sure there are very logical explanations for these variances and someone more learned in the culinary arts could explain quite easily. I’m not yet at that stage in my culinary pursuits and, frankly am not sure if I’ll ever be. I trust the kitchen elves who have already figured all these things out and will probably keep my trust in them for a while…a long while. With that, I present a biscotti tip and a couple of hacks from this week’s baking expedition:
Double Chocolate Biscotti: I use special dark chocolate vs. unsweetened cocoa to give the cookie a little extra pop.
Teeny, tiny sifter: I used to have a small sifter, but it’s gone missing (which is no big deal as it was half mangled anyway). When I have a small sifting job — like dusting the biscotti logs or making a small amount of cookie icing, I use a tea steeper do-hickey thing.
Mixing Natural Peanut Butter: We’re big peanut butter eaters and over the years have moved to natural peanut butter as it only contains peanuts (go figure). Anyone familiar with natural peanut butter is well aware of the oil that seeps to the top of the container and the perils of trying to mix that oil back into the nutty butter. My husband saved one of the jar tops and drilled a hole in the center, fitting it with a mixer wand. When we open a new jar, he gives it a whirl with the hand mixer and blends together the peanut butter and oil, creating a creamy, homogenized end product.
Exhausted, I must head to bed as another week looms closely on the horizon. I wish you all safe travels, smooth sailings and, of course, bon appetite!