Sunday, January 4, 2009
Happy New Year!! While this may be, for many, a time to reflect on the past year or to make resolutions for the new year, it's not really looking that way for me. Usually I'm big on resolutions; one year I did the Ross on Friends try something new every day (until it got to be really stupid things like "wear gold lip gloss" by January 5). This year I'm not making any particular resolutions, but I do want to put more focus into my baking. So that means more recipes and definitely some better pictures! (see above, Nikon D60 vs a cheapo Canon Powershot- what a difference!)
So in keeping with that, I thought I'd try to invent a recipe. Since biscotti are one of my favorite types of cookies, I went with that idea. I've got a no-fail recipe for Almond Biscotti, which I'll share one day, but have had some trouble finding a good chocolate biscotti recipe. I find that with many recipes the cookies tend to be a little too cakey, and to me, a biscotti should be completely crisp, and not at all soft. That's just a personal preference- if you like yours a little on the softer side, this may not be the recipe for you. I think this recipe could be considered an original. It's culled from studying multiple biscotti recipes, as well as the scientific properties of butter, baking soda, and eggs to determine how to develop the ultimate crispness (move over Alton Brown!) I noticed recipes varied mostly on butter. A Carole Walter recipe used an entire melted stick of butter, a recipe from the Rao's cookbook used minimal amounts of butter, and a Martha Stewart used none. What I decided to do was use was four tbsp of melted butter. I also used less eggs than many recipes called for, to cut down on the cakiness. Baking powder was also used to add to the crispness. Next time, I'd like to try the addition of 1 tsp of vanilla extract, though I'll say the cookies were delicious without.
The recipe I used is as follows:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup walnuts, toasted
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flour, coca powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of my electric mixer, I beat the eggs and sugar until pale and slightly foamy. I poured in the melted butter, along the side of the bowl, and mixed until blended.
I then added the flour mixture in 2 additions, stirring just to combine. The dough was very sticky, soft, and thick.
I used a spatula to drop spoonfuls of dough onto parchment, forming 2 logs, each maybe like 16" long, then baked for about 20 minutes, until firm on top. I let the cookies and cool about 20 minutes and sliced them into logs. I put them on their sides and baked for 10 minutes, then flipped them over, and baked another ten minutes. Then I shut the oven off and let the cookies cool in oven with the door cracked open a little for about an hour. They will be very crisp, just the way I like them!
(Side note: if you like them less crisp, don't let them cool in the hot oven. Just remove, and let cool on a wire rack).