Biscotti & Beginnings

Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet? *to the tune of Adele*

Welcome to the very first post of baked + risen—it’s been a long time coming! I figure I’ll paint you an image before we get down and dirty with one of my all time faves: biscotti.

Baking was my first true love. Baking loved me through my awkward years, back when Ina and Emeril were the celebrities I’d most like to meet. (Note: my loyalty for Ina still holds strong and true). One particularly memorable night, around middle school, I decided I HAD to learn how to make the perfect danish. Danish dough is essentially puff pastry (e.g. loads of butter and then more butter). Picture me in my PJs literally pounding cold sticks of butter into a flat sheet with a rolling pin. Now that’s a very typical image of my Friday nights back then. Cooking and I met later on in life, more like high school, and have had a warm relationship since then, but I don’t think it could ever top baking for me. As they say, you never forget your first love.

When I was younger, there was no Pinterest, viral Tasty videos, or food blogs for cooking inspiration. For me, my ideas came through a steady stream of Food Network and old-fashioned cookbooks. One of the first cookbooks my family owned was a Better Homes and Gardens baking edition that my mom had bought for less than a $1 at a book sale. I spent countless mornings, curled up on the couch flipping through it. Of the hundreds of recipes in that book, I’m not sure what compelled me to choose biscotti one day, but it became one of the first things I learned to bake successfully. I’ve been baking all kinds of biscotti for years now, and my close friends know me for it. For others, initial reactions often include: “You can MAKE biscotti?? How??

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Well, friends, I’m here to tell you that it’s very possible and you can totally do it! I love that biscotti is a crunchy, not overly sweet cookie, that’s perfect for dipping into hot tea or coffee. Biscotti is traditionally an Italian cookie, literally translated into “twice-cooked” or baked. It’s essentially made by forming a basic dough into a log, baking it, slicing it, and baking the pieces again. They make amazing gifts because they stay fresh for days and when dipped or drizzled in chocolate, they can look pretty fancy! I can promise this blog will feature plenty of biscotti to come, and below is one of my favorites by Smitten Kitchen–so light and crisp you’ll find yourself eating two or ten in one sitting.

-J

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Forming biscotti logs
Logs after the first bake
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Cooled and sliced
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Dipping time

Dark Chocolate Dipped Orange Almond Biscotti
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped or sliced almonds

1 large egg white

12 oz. dark or semi sweet chocolate chips, melted

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl and set aside. Mix sugar, zest, melted butter, 3 eggs, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. (Tip: I always combine zest and sugar in recipes first, before adding other ingredients. I use my hands to pinch the zest and sugar between my fingers to release all the citrus oils and add more flavor). Add flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until well blended, but don’t overmix. Fold in almonds.

Divide dough in thirds and shape each into a roughly 8-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. I generally like to make my biscotti smaller and more bite-size. The measurements don’t have to be exact but just try to make the logs the same size and shape. I find that smoothing down the top and creating rounded square edges creates a nice shape. Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over top and sides of each dough log.

Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 30 minutes. Keep the oven on but let the logs cool almost completely, about 20 minutes.

Move logs to a cutting board and using a serrated knife, cut logs cross-wise into 3/4 inch-wide slices. You can either slice the biscotti straight or slightly on the diagonal. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Flip biscotti over and bake until just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.

When the biscotti have cooled, dip the bottoms in chocolate. Place them on their sides on parchment paper, to allow the chocolate to set.

 

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4 thoughts on “Biscotti & Beginnings

  1. This blog is amazing and I am going to re-share it until the end of time!! So proud of you for this and all that you do. Follow your immense passion! You are beautiful and so inspiring!

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