Tag Archives: Biscotti

Snap Crackle Pop Biscotti

One of the things I love best about blogging is connecting with other like-minded food obsessed folks. These are my people, they speak my language. Not only do they share my passions, but they share their ideas and always give credit and a huge shout-out of love and support to those that inspired them. It’s a wonderful freaking mutual admiration society. Food bloggers are generous of spirit. They are excited by what they discover and rather than hoard this new knowledge, they want to share it.

The inspiration for this blog came from Jayne Maynard’s blog, What’s for Dinner. She blogged about these crispy crunch chocolate chip cookies she had created. Jayne was inspired by a chocolate chip cookie with Rice Krispies in it that a bakery in her hometown made. She could not seem to get the cookies quite as crispy as they did. it was bugging her. Then she had her eureka moment when she remembered Christina Tosi, the genius behind Momofuko Milk Bar, and her brilliant creation of “The Crunch”.

Basically, Christina takes different cereals (Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes or Captain Crunch or Fruity Pebbles), mixes them with milk powder, a bit of sugar, melted butter and salt and bakes it at a low temperature which yields a perfect balance of sweet, salt and caramelized crunch in every bite. The melted butter acts as the glue to hold it all together and the milk powder coats everything and adds a bit of extra sweetness. She uses “The Crunch” as an addition to pie crusts, cookies, cakes and every other imaginable sweet out there.

Jayne mixed up a batch of “Crispy Crunch” (Rice Krispies baked with milk powder, melted butter, sugar and salt) added it to some chocolate chip cookie dough and arrived at the cookies she was dreaming about.

I was curious to see what would happen if I added the crunch to something already crunchy, like Biscotti. Would Crunch + Extra Crunch be amazing?

I started by mixing up a batch of Rice Krispie Crunch.

Golden brown and gorgeously caramelized once out of the oven, this is some pretty addictive stuff.

Butter and sugar get creamed together. Add eggs and vanilla.

Flour, baking powder and salt round out the dry ingredients. I added some toasted slivered almonds along with the Rice Krispie Crunch, because, really, you can never have enough crunch! This is a wet and sticky dough. You will need some extra flour for your hands and counter as you shape logs. I formed 4 logs, each about 9 inches long, 1 inch wide and 1 1/2 inches high. Place 2 logs on each parchment lined baking sheet.

After 25 minutes in a 300° F oven, they will look like this:

Turn down the oven to 275° F and let biscotti loaves cool for about 30 minutes. Slice on the diagonal about 1/2 inch wide, using a serrated knife. Place cut side up back onto parchment lined baking sheet. Dust with cinnamon and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.

While traditional biscotti typically contain very little fat, this recipe uses a full cup of butter. They are firm and crisp like biscotti should be, but not at all dense and heavy. Because of the extra butter, they have a wonderful light and airy texture.

Click here to print recipe for Snap Crackle and Pop Biscotti.

Holiday Baking Day 1: Dark Chocolate and Pecan Biscotti Slabs

My youngest sister once told me that the sight of 24 pounds of unsalted butter in her freezer makes her very happy. I have to admit, the same is true for me. Although in my case, the butter would all be neatly stacked in orderly rows. In my sister’s freezer, more like haphazardly thrown in wherever they would fit. Now, that’s not a dig at my sister. It’s just part of her unique charm.

Why, you may be asking, would these sisters need 24 pounds of unsalted butter in their freezer at any given time? Do we operate a bootleg bakery out of our homes? No. Were we children who came from poverty? No, as a matter of fact, we grew up in a middle-class suburb of Toronto. I guess you could say we come by our hording honestly. Our mother stockpiled our freezer with Swanson’s T.V. dinners and chicken pot pies, Sara Lee Banana Cakes and Highliner fish sticks. We hoard butter because you never know when the urge to bake will hit, and you must never be caught unprepared. We both love to bake. We both find baking an extremely creative outlet and a way of showing our love to those around us.

Rather than shop for gifts for all the people in my life for whom I am grateful, I decided many years ago to bake. And somehow, over the years my gratitude has grown to include a circle of about 40 people! I usually bake about 7 or 8 different kinds of treats and package them all up in a beautiful unique container.  There are a core 4 items I bake that must be included each year. If I leave any of them out, there may be a mutiny. These treats include Peanut Butter Bark, Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, Lemon Coconut Cookies and Gingerbread Snowflakes.

This year I added a few new items to the mix. The first are Biscotti Slabs. These are a creation of Montreal baker Marcy Goldman. Essentially, you take a typical biscotti batter, bake it in a loaf pan, chill, slice, re-bake and voilà: a new product. Slabs of crisp cookie-like biscotti with a delicious middle layer of chocolate and pecans and a glittering topping of cinnamon sugar. These are serious biscotti. Perfect for breakfast with a cafe latte. Anyone I have ever offered them to looks at them and says, “Oh, these are huge, I’ll just have a small piece.” They break off about a third, nibble on it quietly and then come back and finish the rest off. Sweet, but not too sweet, crunchy and quite addictive.

These biscotti begin with melted rather than softened butter. Marcy uses melted butter in many of her recipes. Not quite sure why this is. If you are melting the butter in the microwave, save yourself a lot of grief and a huge butter explosion and cover butter with a sheet of waxed paper first!

Butter and sugar are creamed together. Be sure to take the time to do this properly. It takes at least 4-5 minutes of creaming. It should look like this when it is done.

Eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt are added to complete the batter.

Here is my foolproof technique for lining the baking pan. No greasing required and the biscotti slab will lift out very easily without any sticking.

Toasted pecans and bittersweet chocolate are chopped up to make the biscotti middle layer.

Mix together some cinnamon and sugar.

Then it’s time for assembly. Spread half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use wet fingers to spread it evenly. Spread the chocolate and pecan topping evenly over the batter. Sprinkle on half the cinnamon sugar mixture. Top with remaining batter and finish with a dusting of remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Bake for about 50 minutes. Let cool completely and remove loaf from pan. Wrap well in foil and freeze for about an hour. Then slice into slabs and bake a second time.

Arrange slabs on baking sheet and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until crisp and slightly browned. They will continue to firm up as they cool.

Click here to print recipe for Dark Chocolate and Pecan Biscotti Slabs

Breakfast Biscotti (also known as Mrs B’s Mandelbroit)

These are a biscotti unlike any other you may have tried.  Traditionally, biscotti are hard, sturdy cookies, made for dunking into coffee or tea.  These biscotti are firm but crisp and quite crunchy and airy all at the same time.  They are delicate and will shatter if you are not careful handling them.  It is a lot like eating a crunchy cloud, if you can imagine that.  I call them breakfast biscotti because they are made with Special K cereal.  That’s what gives them their unique texture.

This recipe comes from a childhood friend’s mother (Mrs .B).  I was friends with the daughter of the family and my sister was friends with the son.  Working as a tag team, we managed to wear Mrs B down until she gave us the recipe.

Biscotti, in Italian, means twice cooked.  The cookies are first formed into a log, cooked until slightly firm, allowed to cool, then sliced into thin cookies and baked a second time until firm.  All cultures around the world have their own form of this cookie.  Jewish bakers haveMandelbroit (meaning almond bread), the English have their “Rusks”, in France they are called “Croquets de Carcassonne”, in Greece, “Paxemadia” and in the Ukraine they are called “Kamishbrot”.

These biscotti keep well in an airtight container for several weeks.  I have almost managed to convince myself that they are a complete and healthy breakfast!

The dough mixes up quickly in the kitchenaid.  Oil and sugar are creamed until light.  Next the eggs are added.  This is followed by the dry ingredients and finally, the Special K.

 The dough is quite sticky, but do not be tempted to add more flour.  Scrape out dough onto a heavily floured counter and knead lightly.  Divide dough into 4 and then form logs.  Bake logs for about 30 minutes until slightly firmed up.
After logs have cooled for at least an hour, slice on the diagonal.  A serrated knife or chinese cleaver works well for this.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, turn slices cut side up and return to the oven for second baking.

Breakfast Biscotti

To print recipe, click here.

makes about 60

 

3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup shortening
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Special K cereal
¾ cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled

cinnamon for sprinkling on half-baked cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  In an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add oil, shortening and vanilla and mix until well blended.  Add salt, flour, baking powder, special K and almonds.  Mix just until blended.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Divide dough into 4 pieces. The dough will be quite soft and sticky.  Flour your work surface well so that you can handle the dough more easily.  Roll each piece of dough into a log, about 2 inches wide and about 8 inches long.  Place two logs on each baking sheet and brush off any excess flour with a dry pastry brush.  Bake for about 20 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through.
  3. Remove baking sheets from the oven and let logs cool for about 30 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees F.  Place each of the cooled logs on a cutting board and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.  Using a serrated knife, cut into ½ inch diagonal slices.  Arrange slices on parchment lined baking sheets, cut side down.   Bake for about another 40-45 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through.  The mandelbroit will be a bit soft when you take them out of the oven, but they will harden upon cooling.  These freeze very well and our family likes them even better frozen.

White Chocolate Cranberry Coconut Biscotti

 

Yesterday morning at 5:45 am I received an e-mail request to bake for a charity auction/fundraiser being held this Saturday night.  You may be wondering why I was awake so early. It wasn’t on purpose.  It’s just that I keep forgetting to put my blackberry on “silent” mode before I go to sleep, so the beep of an incoming message woke me.  The request was from the Lanark County Therapeutic Riding Program.  I immediately hit reply and said YES!!  My speedy, enthusiastic (well, as enthusiastic as I can be at 5:45 am) reply was due to two reasons. 

The main reason I replied yes is that my son, who has cerebral palsy, has been riding with them for over 6 years.   When he began he could not even sit up on the horse.  Now he is trotting.  He has developed increased balance, flexibility and coordination over the years.  But more importantly, he has gained a feeling of great independence and freedom as well as tremendous pride in his accomplishments.  I never could have imagined a day when I would see him trotting down a country road on a horse.  It is a joy to behold. 

The second reason for my speedy acquiescence is that I love any excuse to bake, especially when I know the baking will be leaving my home and moving out of harm’s way (Harm in this case, being my mouth!)

I knew right away what I wanted to bake.  I was planning to bake on Thursday and the event was not being held until Saturday, so it had to be something that didn’t get stale quickly.  Biscotti would be the perfect thing to make.  They keep well for several weeks, although they never seem to last that long around here.  The inspiration for this biscotti recipe came from the now defunct Gourmet Magazine (a moment of silence here please!!).  The original recipe was for cranberry biscotti dipped in white chocolate.  I decided to add white chocolate chunks to the dough instead of dipping them.  I also added coconut to the dough because coconut makes everything taste better!   Unbeknownst to me, my sister Bonnie made the exact same changes to the recipe.  We laughed when we discovered what the other had done.

Oh, and I had a third reason to be excited to bake today!  I would get to try out my new Beater Blade for my Kitchenaid mixer.  The company claims that this blade, “ … virtually eliminates hand-scraping the bowl and batter build-up on the blades. Ingredients are thoroughly incorporated ensuring foolproof mixing and baking preparation.” After softening the butter, I set to work creaming the butter and sugar.  I was very impressed with the new blade.  No scraping down was needed.  I love it when a product delivers like it promises.

Then time to add the rest of the ingredients.

Biscotti is Italian for “twice baked”.  First the dough is formed into logs and baked.  Then the logs are sliced and put back into the oven for a second baking.  This is a wonderful dough to work with, so pliable and malleable.  Forming the logs is simple.

The logs are brushed with beaten eggwhite and baked for about 25 minutes.  Then they cool for about an hour.  I discovered that using a cleaver works really well for slicing the logs.  I got an inexpensive one from Ikea.  I like to slice them on the diagonal for really long biscotti.  They go back into the oven for a second baking.  They will be a bit soft when you remove them from the second baking but will firm up as they cool.

White Chocolate Cranberry Coconut Biscotti

Makes about 48 biscotti.  These can be frozen in an airtight container for about 1 month.  Thaw at room temperature.

 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
1 ½ cups good quality white chocolate chunks
1 ½  cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1 egg white

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. 

 2.  Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until well blender.  Add eggs, one at a time and mix well.  Add dry ingredients and mix briefly.  Add cranberries, white chocolate and coconut and mix until well combined.

 3.  Divide dough in half.  Using floured hands, shape each piece into a log 2 ½ inches wide, 1 inch high and about 16 inches long.  Transfer both logs to one prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly.  Set aside second baking sheet for now.  You will need it later when you slice the logs.  Whisk egg white in a small bowl until foamy; brush egg white glaze on top and sides of each log.

 4.  Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let logs cool completely on sheet on a rack.  This will take about 45 minutes.  Maintain oven temperature.

 5.  Transfer logs to cutting board.  Using a serrated knife or a Chinese cleaver, cut logs on diagonal into ½ inch wide slices.  Arrange slices, cut side down, spread out on the two baking sheets.  Bake 8 minutes; turn biscotti over.  Bake until just beginning to colour, about 8 minutes more.  Transfer biscotti to rack to cool.