Tag Archives: biscotti

Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti: Take 2

Remember over a year ago when I made the disastrous chocolate-pistachio biscotti via Martha Stewart? Well, after a long time of looking up some recipes, getting pistachios prepped, leaving said pistachios in a plastic baggy on the kitchen counter for probably far too long, and actually deciding on a recipe to use, I finally got around to making a better version!

I had mentioned that I had wanted to find a better recipe and make the biscotti again, but who would have a good recipe? Why, Dorie of course! I grabbed the copy of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours from the kitchen bookshelf and found her recipe for a chocolate-almond biscotti. By simply substituting the pistachios instead of almonds, I reached the wonderful taste I was looking for when I originally thought up mixing chocolate and pistachios.

These biscotti are a little soft in the middle still, so if you like your biscotti really crunchy I suggest baking them for a bit longer during the second baking. The chopped up pistachios spread evenly throughout the cookies and are much easier to deal with than the whole ones I tried with the Martha recipe. The little bits of chocolate bring a hing of moist, tasty treats as you much along. Even the pinch of espresso powder brings out more of the chocolate flavor and make the biscotti smell slightly coffee-esque. Nom.  Eat them alone or with a cup of coffee or tea, (Although I wouldn’t recommend the pomegranate green tea pictured. I used it because it’s tea I like, so I would drink it after the photo shoot.) and enjoy!

Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti

2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pistachios
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

sugar for dusting

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes; the mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 12-inch-long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand, so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle each log with a little sugar.

Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will spread and crack – and that’s just fine. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, put it on a cooling rack and cool the logs for about 20 minutes. (Leave the oven on.)

Working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Lay the slices on their sides – you’ll have an army of biscotti – and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes.

Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool.

Recipe adapted from: Dorie Greenspan and Baking: From My Home to Yours

Better biscotti or bust

As mentioned earlier, I recently attempted to make chocolate-pistachio biscotti. I have always been a fan of biscotti since my friends and I would go to our local hot-spot and sip coffee and munch biscotti during high school (remember Bell’s that I mentioned earlier?), and this summer I finally tried my hand at making it. So far everything has been a success. I posted about the lemon-anise biscotti, but forgot to snap pictures of and mention the cherry-hazelnut I also made. It got to the point where the biscotti was delicious, but need a little extra something. What does one do when the usual baked goods need a pick me up? Add chocolate of course.

I searched for a good (erm, actually a ‘quick and easy’ and with ingredients that I had around the house) recipe and finally found one for chocolate-pistachio biscotti. I read other blogs as people raved about the combination of salty nuts and sweet chocolate and couldn’t wait to start my own batch. So I grabbed the recipe and headed to the kitchen.

The dough came together quickly and easily enough, but something was off. It was extremely dry. While I toyed with the idea of adding more liquid to it, I finally settled on this idea: “Kiwi, it’s a Martha Stewart recipe. Let’s trust her this once and make these exactly to her instructions.”

And so I took the very dry dough, made the log to bake for the first go round and pressed all the escaped pistachios into the dough, and there were quite a few. Then baked according to instruction, about 20-25 minutes. Now, for those of you who have made biscotti before you probably know that when the biscotti are baked for the first time they need to be rather firm all the way through so that cutting them into the usual diagonal biscotti shape is easier and the cookies don’t crumble as you cut them. Well, these were way too soft after the first baking, and I knew it, but once again that voice inside my head said “Trust in Martha”. Why, oh, why did I listen?

Oh sure, they look harmless enough, and they do taste rather good, but they are so wrong on so many levels. Notice how insanely thick they are? Yeah, that’s cause they were too soft after the first baking so when I tried to cut them they fell apart. The only way to try to keep them intact? Make them massive. Notice the holes on top where the pistachios fell off because the little buggers didn’t want to stay on? Too many nuts, not enough dough. Then, after the second baking and the cleaning of the crumbly mess in my kitchen from cutting these, the suckers (oh wait, biscotti, not suckers…the…confused cookies?) still were not done in the middle enough. I mean, they were done, it’s not like they were raw, don’t get me wrong, but they were way too soft to be biscotti. So I told the voice in my head to shut up and baked them for longer. But to no real avail. Alas: dry, giant, falling apart, but tasty none-the-less, biscotti.

Smidget attempted to console me as I was rather enraged disappointed at these biscotti, and Martha, for turning out so poorly. She said the wise words of “I’ve tried at least one of her cookie recipes myself, and I found it wasn’t that good.” So all in all, I just have to say, Martha-please take another look at your cookie recipes and make sure everything is set the way it should be.

That being said, I won’t post the recipe until I can find (and or tweak and make my own) recipe that makes the most amazing chocolate-pistachio biscotti around. Although, I’m sure you could find the recipe pretty easily, it is, after all, Martha Stewart’s chocolate-pistachio biscotti. But what to do with the recipe? I’m actually thinking this may make a good tart crust dough. Ya know, chocolate cookie crust with a layer of pistachios and chocolate ganache?

What’s the worst recipe you’ve ever followed? Or, how have your Martha experiences been?

A sweet Saturday morning

In my quest to create delectable, delicious, delightful goodies, I flipped through some of Smidget’s gigantic cookbook collection (I’ve only been though a few so far and so many things have been marked to make!) and found something rather enjoyable-My perfect Saturday morning.

It starts off with a cup of hot coffee, my first attempt at knitting socks, which is actually going quite fantastically, and my new goody. Lemon-Anise Biscotti.

I have always loved biscotti, the crunchy twice-baked cookies remind me of sophomore year of high school when my friends and I would travel to this little greenhouse/gift shop down the street from school  called Bell’s. We would sit in the greenhouse cafe and drink blended ice coffees and eat biscotti while talking about boys and classes, I think I even still have some video of those days, although I think all photo footage has disappeared. One of my friends would bring paper, pen, and eraser and would draw the five of us sitting at the table, and many an inside joke were created around those tables under the pale sun shining through the greenhouse ceiling. Since then, a few of us have become coffee fanatics and realized actually how poor the coffee was a Bell’s, and the group has stopped going. Although Smidget and I have gone there a lot over the years, especially around the holiday season to purchase more Snow Village, the times I went with my friends will forever be in my mind. Especially the time we, as a joke, bought a book on How to Be A Lady and the saleswoman told us “hope it works!” I think they got tired of having teenagers running out near the china. A friend of mine from back then suggested we go again fairly recently, and it’s too bad she’s all the way in Washington because I wanted to hug her so hard I would practically smother her just for suggesting it. Perhaps we shall journey to Bell’s again, and perhaps, this time, photo footage will survive.

Until then, all I can do is try my hand at my own biscotti, which seemed to be a bit over done but even Smidget has admitted to enjoying them. Now I’ll just have to try new flavors and include some chocolate!

Lemon-Anise Biscotti

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon minced zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon anise seed

Directions:

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray it with non-stick spray, or my personal favorite, use a Silpat.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk the sugar and eggs in a large bowl to a light lemon color; stir in vanilla, lemon zest, and anise seed. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the egg mixture, then FOLD until the dough is just combined. (I forgot to read the fold thing, and started to whisk before realizing my mistake and switching to folding, hence the bold)

Halve the dough and turn both portions onto the prepared baking sheet. Using floured hands, quickly stretch each portion of the dough into a rough 13×2 inch loaf. Place the loaves about 3 inches apart on the baking sheet; pat each one smooth.

Bake until the loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a wire rack.

Cool the loaves from 10 minutes; lower the oven to 325 degrees. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the loaves to a cutting board.

With a serrated knife, cut each loaf diagonally into 3/8 inch thick slices. Lay the slices about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet, cut-side up, and return them to the oven.

Bake, turning over each cookie halfway through, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool completely.

The biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Adapted from The New Best Recipe cookbook.