Cookies 2: Biscotti

2007-04-19

Espresso BiscottiI've made biscotti many times in the past, but this class held some surprises for me. First, we made espresso biscotti. A lot of traditional versions don't contain any fat, save for that from eggs, but this one involved creaming butter and sugar. Flavourings included orange zest, instant espresso, cinnamon, mini chocolate chips and slivered almonds. Unfortunately, Chef said we didn't need to toast them, but I disagree: these nuts were slightly chewy and could have used a nice browning. Once the smooth dough was rounded up, we rolled them by flicking them with the sides of our fingers. Magically, the dough became a long, thin log without us having to press into them with our hands. After a slight flattening and egg yolk glaze, the dough was ready to be baked. When the loaves were browned, we took them out of the oven to cool. The logs had cracked in the oven which made slicing into whole pieces even more difficult. Cooling them helps firm them up, making it less likely for them to crumble. A second bake dried the cookies out, and we finished the biscotti by dipping them in coating chocolate. While the orange and coffee flavours were pronounced, the texture of this cookie was too crumbly and dry-chewy.more…

Chocolate Chip Almond BiscottiOur next recipe used oil, something I've never encountered in a biscotti recipe. Predictably, the batter was almost runny and couldn't be manipulated by hand. We spread the mixture using a spoon onto a baking sheet, making a rough log shape. In the oven, the dough spread out into a very flat cookie. We sliced the soft, warm loaves (these held up and didn't need to be cooled) into thin pieces, sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar, then baked them a second time. I liked these biscotti a lot: they were tender and flavourful, but I'm disappointed we basically used the same fillings (chocolate chips and almonds).

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