Sunday, November 04, 2007
Despite the many baking failures I had over the past, I am extremely blessed in the biscotti department. In fact I find my favorite biscotti recipe the first time I attempted it. Although I blogged about these biscottis a couple of times in the past, I failed to include the recipe. Firstly because I am lazy. Secondly, the recipe is lengthy.I have the book and even copied it by hand in my notebook, so that I could bake it during my last trip home. So I find no rush to put it up here.
Until not long ago, my friend A asked me for the recipe. Her friend who tried the biscottis and has since moved to New York is thinking of attempting the recipe herself. So I thought I might type it here for her, and others who may be interested too.
After my first sweet success, I have since tried many biscotti recipes but none (ok, except those mosaic biscottis) measured up to this one. This recipe, which comes from the Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook is my reliable source for chocolate biscottis. I have also tweaked it a few times with different flour components, amount of sugar, varieties of nuts and even used different brands of chocolate, just to see if that makes a different. Come to think of it, I must have made it more than ten times.
I strongly encourage bakers who have not tried baking biscottis before to give this incredibly easy recipe a go. And for the novice bakers out there, making this will guarantee an instant confidence boost. I certainly felt invinsible the day I made my first batch. There is no way you can mess up this easy cookie.
To make the process even easier,I have one tips for you. Just one. Instead of shaping the dough by hand, simply drop spoonfuls directly onto the parchment paper to form logs.
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
adapted and modified from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I like to replace 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for the all purpose)
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1 tsp granulated sugar for glaze (I used 1 cup and it's the right sweetness for me)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups(about 8 ounces) blanched hazelnuts (sometime I use almond, but I prefer hazelnuts)
12 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunk(I like to use one pack of 3.5oz 72% Lindt and make up the rest with 60% Ghiradelli Chocolate chips)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 eggwhite for glaze (optional), at room temperature
Sanding sugar (or granulated)for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.Line two large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the flour, cocoa,baking soda,salt, 1 cup of chocolate chunks and hazelnut, until chocolate chunks and hazelnuts are the size of peas. *if you don't have a food processor (like me), coarsely chop the nuts and chocolate and sieve the flour.
In a bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the whole eggs, and granulated sugar until the mixture holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface for a few seconds when you raise the whisk.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture. When it's well combined, add in the nuts and chocolate and stir by hand, using a large spatula.
Martha Stewart's proper way:
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide into 3 equal pieces. Shape each pieces into an 18 inch log. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. With the palm of your hand, gently press the logs to flatten slighlt. Brush egg wash over logs. Sprinkle with sanding sugar if using.
Mandy's lazy not messy way:
Using the spatula as a guide, drop the dough by spoonful into a 2.5-inches wide and 18-inches long log directly onto the parchment paper. Slightly flatten it to 1/2-inch thick. Leave 2 inches space between logs.*** Brush eggwash over logs. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, if using.
Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until logs are just firm to the touch, 20-24 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
When the logs are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut biscotti log on the diagonal, into 1/4-inch thick, or if you like, 3/4-inch thick (which is more durable to be send off as care package.
Place a wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange slices, cut sides down on the rack.Bake until biscottis are firm to the touch and completely dry. 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove pans from the oven;Let biscottis cool completely on the rack. They can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. I keep them in the freezer when I don't feel like sharing with others. They can be kept there for months.
note: chocolate drizzle is not necessary, but I used it for aesthetic purpose.