Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Can you keep a secret?

Mosaic Biscotti

What is your favorite kind of cookies? For me, I can't resist biscotti. Chocolate biscotti, to be specific. The first thing I see on the biscotti recipe is not the description one provides, but the ingredient list. I want to know whether butter is used in the process.

Called me stubborn, or even ignorant, but I steer myself clear from biscotti made with butter. I don't care what others say about the crispier texture when butter is used. It just doesn't feel right for me. I think it has to do with one article I read couple years ago before I started baking biscottis. It mentioned that the "real deal" is made without butter. Ironically, I can't even remember where I saw that article, let alone its authenticity. But the message somehow stuck in my illogical brain.

Having established my weird logic on biscotti recipe, it should not catch you by surprise that this batch of biscotti is made without butter. And the means of how this recipe travel from the book onto this blog is quite embarrassing, if not scandalous.

It was on a sunny morning after I walked OCT to school and decided to spend some leisure time browsing the new cookbooks in the nearby Barnes & Nobles. The sparkling new Dolce Italiano that was displayed on the feature rack caught my eyes. I picked up the book and found a quiet spot. Sitting on the comfortable couch, I started to peruse the book. Little did I know when I picked up the book that the authour- Gina DePalma, is the pastry chef of Mario Batali's Babbo Restaurant! (Ok, I am ignorant) Unlike many dessert books in the market, DePalma has a clear vision and sharp focus on what she wanted to convey. And it was Italian desserts. Not only did she manage to cram so many delicious sounding recipes in the book, it is also packed with stories and information. I think it will serve as a great reference for anyone who is interested in making or simply wanting to know more about Italian desserts.

Mosaic Biscotti

Usually, I could easily finish reading a cookbook in one sitting. But not this book! I had a hard time digesting all the information the book offers. It feels almost like lovers who haven't met and talked for a decade! So I decided not to rush through it, and skipped to the section where the biscotti recipes are. And I did something that may not gain your approval. I copied the recipe of this biscotti. A very rough guide though, which consists of the ingredient list and simple instructions. Such is the distance I would go, to give you, my friends, the recipe of this fantas-bulous biscottis. I hope you will keep it to yourself. But certainly make it and share it with your loved ones.

Just save the part where your friend here risked being scorned by the store manager and other medical students to bring this recipe to you. Oh, and please, by all means, get a copy of Dolce Italiano. After trying the Mosaic Biscotti, I would strongly recommend this book to anybody who have a passion for Italian desserts.

mosaic biscotti

Here's goes the gist of the recipe and my modified instructions:

Mosaic Biscottis
adapted from Dolce Italiano

3.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar, 1 tsp granulated sugar for glaze (I used 1.5cups and it's the right sweetness for me)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups of pistachio, coarsely chopped
2 cups of hazelnuts, corsely chopped (I used 1.5 cups, because that's what I have left)
12 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I used 1 pack (11.5oz)of Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate chips because I got it on offer :))
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 eggyolks, plus 1 eggwhite for glaze (optional), at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F.Line two large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the whole eggs, eggyolks 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 vanilla extract and the flour mixture. When it's well combined, add in the nuts and chocolate and stir by hand, using a large spatula.

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 toch, 20-24 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack to cool completely, about 40 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 200F. (I wasn't very patient, so I stick with 300F. This way the biscottis will dry fasterin the second bake)

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.

Arrange slices on the baking sheet and bake until biscottis are firm to the touch and completely dry. 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully turn the biscottis to the other side and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until dry.

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: you can also shape the dough into individual log before baking. But I find it easier to just drop the dough onto the parchment paper to form a log. It's less messy this way. Especially when the dough is sticky.

Tip: If you have baking racks, you can also place the biscottis on them for the second bake. This way, you don't need to turn them when one side has dried.

Suppose to make 4 dozen biscottis, (I have more than that!)


Belinda said...

You are so funny, Mandy, with your contraband biscotti recipe! I love the pistachios...they really add such a festive, special look to these biscotti...it was worth sneaking that recipe out of the book! :-)

Nabeela said...

lol....the biscottis sound even more delicious because of the way the recipe was obtained...you know the saying 'forbidden fruits taste sweeter' ;)
I checked out the amazon reniews and indeed the reviews are all very encouraging. I'll be putting this book on my wishlist :)

Anh said...

Just by your descriptions, I can imagine how good these taste! Excellent job!

Anonymous said...

Your biscotti are lovely, so much prettier than mine!

Oh for the love of food! said...

Your biscotti looks wonderful! - It seems that you and I are partners in crime, I've copied recipes from cookbooks in bookshops lot's of times, I just didn't think there was anything wrong with that! Now you've gone and made me conscious! HA!HA!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Mandy, send some my way - they look fantastic!

Deborah said...

I have never actually made biscotti before - but I will be making it soon now!! And your secret is safe with us!!

Little Corner of Mine said...

I love biscottis! Have been seeing lots of biscottis in food blogs lately, makes me want to make some too! Will give your no butter recipe a try! Thanks for sharing! :)

marias23 said...

Mandy, your biscottis look divine! And hey! Are you a scientist too? I noticed that the glass you arranged your biscottis in are from Biotechniques, a random journal that I read occasionally too :)

Coffee and Vanilla said...


Just a short note to let you know I nominated you to Inspiring Food Photography Event :)


Happy Homebaker said...

Mandy, you make me want to bake a batch of biscottis right now! But I am still a little apprehensive about the sticky mess that was created when I tried it the last time ;)

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

yumyumyum...coffee n biscotti on a rainy day...hey, what camera r u using? lovely pics!

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

oh, i once took a pic of a recipe (so easy with digital cams n mobiles now) in a supermarket in KL; felt so guilty!

Kajal@aapplemint said...

Hi Mandy , i never knew the real deal is without butter !I always thought those were a variation. These look to die for... wish i could just grab one, but i'm trying to control...just got on a diet today...all this blogging has got me gaining serious pounds :)

Piggy said...

Hi Mandy,

The biscotti looks GREAT! i like the mosaic look! I'm gonna try it out soon, thanks for the recipe!

Anne said...

oh! this looks so yummy!

hey mandy! I'm really so glad to find your name included in the new batch of Daring Bakers :) Yipee! I'm so happy for you...it's good to know we will be making the same challenge each month (",)

Mandy said...

ya. I am glad I did. :)

agree, agree!

thanks. by excellent job you mean the baking of biscottis or obtaining the recipe?;p

practice make perfect.:)

I am so happy that I am not the only one who copy recipes. ;p

they are all gone. ;D

let me know if you try.

little corner of mine,
you are most welcome. I feel so good for making my own, as opposed to spending $1 + on 1 biscotti at Starbucks.

I have an applied chemistry degree but don't put in to use except in baking. My hubby is a postdoc though. He got the mug from a lucky draw. :)

thanks. Given that you have nominated another 2 really inspiring bloggers,(both that I admire myself) I doubt if I would even get a single vote.;p

I know what you mean. I had the same problem in my first batch. After that I simply drop the dough onto the parchment without shaping it by hand. It's neater that way.

I am using pentax k100d. Your photos are nice too.

I know what you mean. I gained quite a few pounds myself too. :(

you are most welcome. :)

I am very excited about it too. *blush blush*

Anonymous said...

I love biscotti, and more importantly I love the idea of THIS biscotti. The colors of the "mosaic" are fabulous and so are the flavors!

Unknown said...

I saw something that said something to the same extent..."real" biscotti doesn't use butter. Need to make some biscotti soon!

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