Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The Return of the Biscotti

Posted by Bonita

oct17_02

School has definitely been keeping me busy lately, and unfortunately, it has kept me away from the joys of food-blogging. Firstly, I hardly have the time to blog, let alone getting some decent sleep in between getting all my readings and assignments done. Secondly, with my busy and hectic schedule, I usually just want to whip up something in 10 minutes or less, and often or not, it's not blog-worthy (or has already been blogged about before). I did whip up a really tasty, really fast pasta dish a few weeks ago. I like to call it Pasta al frigo since it was just stuff I had lying in the fridge that I threw together in a pan and tossed it around. I had some leftover broccoli, cherry tomatoes and ricotta cheese that day, so I tossed it with some spaghetti, garlic and basil for a quick dinner fix. Molto semplice e delizioso!

oct01_01

Being my last year of undergrad, I'm really taking my studies seriously this year. Not to say that I didn't in the past, but I certainly lost a lot of my motivation last year. Last year was certainly a tough year, and I ended up baking all the time as a form of escape from school. But I finally realised once again a couple of weeks ago the reason I'm here, at school, studying literature. Classes are interesting, the profs are fantastic, and I'm really eager to learn. That being said, there has been less escaping in the kitchen, and more reading and researching in its stead.

However, I do bake from time to time for both my Italian and Italian literature class. Both being small classes, it's easy to bring something in to feed everyone. It is a universal understanding that food brings people together, and it's a great way for everyone to get to know each other better. Their also Italians; Italians and food are practically synonymous. Lastly, I have free and willing guinea pigs who can try out new recipes and give me feedback. What more can I ask from them?

oct17_01

Keeping with the Italian theme, I found a new biscotti to try out, since I'm obsessed in finding new biscotti recipes to try out on my Italian peeps. This one was a Cinnamon-Mocha Biscotti, and also features pecans and chocolate chips. The cookie was absolutely divine; it has a nice subtle mocha and cinnamon flavour, and the chocolate and nuts had a nice layer of texture and complexity to the flavours of the biscotti. The use of butter also gave it a different texture from the traditional biscotti recipes that don't call for butter, giving it a crisp yet tender crumb. The only problem I really ran into was when I was slicing the biscotti; the baked logs were quite delicate, and it took a lot of care and patience to make sure I got nice clean slices that didn't crumble and fall apart on me. I think I would also like to amp up the amount of coffee granules used next time, just to give it that extra punch. All in all though, definitely one impressive cookie. My Italian lit professor definitely enjoyed them...do I foresee extra credit? Hehehe....

Cinnamon Mocha Biscotti
Adapted from Recipezaar
Makes about 2 dozen
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp instant expresso or instant coffee granules
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 to 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Combine sugar and butter and mix until light and fluffy. Add the espresso or coffee granules; mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix briefly.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
  5. Fold in the pecans and chocolate chips.
  6. Divide dough in half. Form two 12" x 2" logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm.
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs diagonally into 3/4-inch-wide slices. Place slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn biscotti over, bake about 10 minutes more or until light golden and firm. Transfer biscotti to racks and cool.

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