Monday, December 5, 2011

Ready...Set...Bake...

I turned the oven on this morning at 10:30 a.m. and finally turned it off a little after 9 p.m.  It certainly was a baking day.  Three kinds of biscotti and two kinds of crackers.  I like finding a 'basic' recipe that can be well adapted to additions or simplification.  Today it happened twice!  

Today I made Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti, Cranberry Pecan Biscotti, and what I think is now my favourite biscotti, Alice Waters' Anise Almond Biscotti.  I'm going to go out on a limb and proclaim that biscotti have to be my favourite cookie.  You can pretty much add anything you want to it and I love how it can be part of an enjoyable ritual.  While you can just munch away at it, the preferred method of sitting down with a biscotti or two and an espresso or cup of tea to dip your cookie in and taking your time to savour the flavours is so appealing.

The 'To Bake' list keeps changing slightly because I keep coming across various posts from magazines or other blogs and thinking how great it would be to make something else.  We'll see where it all ends up.  I managed to get photos of the biscotti today, but the crackers will have to wait.  I love the shorter days, though I don't love missing out on a couple of extra hours to take photos.

I also have Cinnamon Shortbread on the brain and may just get the dough ready tonight and bake them up tomorrow.

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
(Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' Citrus Biscotti in Everyday Italian)


2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped


Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and place hazelnuts on a baking sheet.  Toast nuts for 10-15 minutes, transfer to dishtowel to remove skins and chop roughly.  In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa, and espresso powder.  Mix well and set aside.  In another bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and almond extract.  Whisk until well combined.  Add flour mixture gradually to make dough.  Stir in hazelnuts and mix to combine.  Dough will be soft and sticky.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes.


On a floured board, split dough in two equal pieces and form logs about 14 inches long and 3 inches across.  Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.  On cutting board, cut logs in half-inch slices and place face down on baking sheet.  Bake for another 10 minutes, then turn cookies over and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  


While you're waiting for the biscotti to finish baking, you can always make yourself that cup of espresso...



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