~ Everything Is Edible, Some Things Are Only Edible Once ~
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Biscotti Per Favore
There has never been a moment in my life were I sat complacent about preparing food or working on a recipe. I guess satisfaction is just a moment in time or to peek in a moment were I just can’t think of anything to improve the food. Not that there isn’t more ways to improve something with different techniques or skills. I watch people cook and prepare food and it never ceases to amaze me of the different infusions and flavors that appear that normally would not. It’s a fabulous experience. It is one I yearn for often. I think it’s would be compared to someone who is addicted to cigarettes. Not that I have even had that habit but I’ve seen how the smokers crave and yearn for that nicotine fix.
The holiday season is packed with moments of creations, infusions of old recipes with new twists. In fact, my wife Amy, this very moment is making her yearly Biscotti in the kitchen. Every year she adds something new to try along with making the traditional ones. Last year she did various versions with almonds. Toasted almonds, blanched almonds, raw almonds, salted almonds and the list goes on and on. Always progressing and experiencing with different flavors.
I try to be creative and new, but at the same time, I want the traditional flavors as well. It’s hard sometimes to want both, so I end up making two different batches of the same item with different flavors. It can be nauseating at the end. You know what they say about to much of something good. (Enter dry heaving)
This time of year is hard not to indulge. With all the different candies, breads, appetizer type creations showing up all around at work and at social functions. It’s hard not to want to experience them hoping to taste something new. I recall a few years ago I attended a little get together with friends at their new home. And they had a huge spread on top of what everyone else brought as a potluck. The different type of foods was outstanding to say the least. I ate southern foods, Caribbean food, South American influenced foods, and something quite new to me, Germanistic food. I won’t go into the German food, but I will say it’s not high on my list of food to influence my cooking in the near future or possibly ever. Just don’t like the stuff traditional or new.
This coming week I want to make something for my coworkers, but I’ve been stumped. Should I make Finger food, a hot or cold Entrée, A bucket load of Pastry? Oh what shall I make? Then it accorded to me, why not Biscotti? My wife is already making some and I haven’t made them myself for some years. Mainly because my wife discovered Biscotti five years ago and has kind of been her thing every year since. The great thing about Biscotti is you can be so incredibly diversitile with the recipe it should be illegal. They go with just about every beverage known to man. Well, maybe not the warmed blood drink that the African Masai drink, that would be kind of creepy. (Enter dry heaving again)
¾ cup of whole Almonds. (You will Toast and chop your Almonds prior to making dough)
¼ lb of Butter.
¾ cup of Sugar.
2 medium Eggs.
2 ¼ cups of Flour.
1 ½ Tsp of Baking Powder.
¼ Tsp of Kosher Salt.
Preheat oven to 350°F
Toast the almonds until golden, then chop by hand into quarter-inch chunks.
Reduce oven heat to 325°F
Cream the butter until light, then add the sugar and beat until it is smooth and creamy.
Beat in the 2 eggs until the mixture is smooth.
Sift in the flour, baking powder then add salt; beat until just mixed.
Stir in the toasted almonds.
Prep That Dough:
On a floured board, divide the dough in half and roll each half into a long roll about 1-½ inches in diameter and about 10 inches long. Squish the rolls down a bit so they look more flat that rounded
Bake That Dough:
Set the rolls on a baking sheet a minimum of 3 inches apart, then bake in the top third of the oven for 25 minutes or until set and lightly browned on top.
Cut That Dough:
Allow the rolls to cool for 5 minutes, and then slice diagonally into half-inch thick slices.
Lay the slices flat on the baking sheet, and then return them to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Turn the slices over and bake for 10 minutes longer. This will make your Biscotti Rock hard as they are traditionally intended.
Cool That Dough:
Allow to cool on a rack.
In closeing, I hope you have fun in your kitchen after you make these because at this point you can just drizzle chocolate over the tops. You can dip them in half white and half dark chocolate. Maybe mist a little Rum. Whatever it is you decide to do, it’s tons of fun to just playing and experimenting.