Sunday, February 1, 2009

Biscotti: Round 1

I just recovered from a cold or flu or whatever it was that was making me feverish and ill and you can tell how long I was bed ridden by the number of days I didn't post in this blog.

Anyway when I woke-up this morning it was pouring - a very unusual thing in the Costa del Sol and something I welcome since we apparently still are in the middle of a drought. No, it's not over yet until our water reservoirs are fuller.

I've never made biscotti before but I've always been curious and now that there are lots of recipes all over the Internet, I thought I'd do some preliminary research and read through a few recipes and then choose one and try my hand at making these wonderful crunchy things that you dip in your coffee.

To be honest, my first choice was David Lebovitz's Chocolate Biscotti, but the Carrefour near me is having its regular inventory problems and this time they've been out of cocoa for more than a week. We probably won't be seeing anymore cocoa for another month now if ever we see it again. Right now all they have is the sugared variety or the type that has rice flour and other things mixed into it and this just isn't what the doctor has called for...I mean the recipe has called for.

Anyhow after I sent Ronny on 3 failed cocoa buying missions I gave-up and have chosen to make the biscotti from On the Hob or in the Oven while looking at the step-by-step instructions with photographs from Smitten Kitchen.

The only modification I made to the recipe was using 1 Tsp Amaretto instead of 1/2 Tsp Almond Extract - mainly because I still haven't found any almond extract in this part of Spain yet. Other than that, I followed the recipe pretty much as it is.

The batter was kind of sticky so I did have to add some extra flour when kneading it. Otherwise, it was a sticky unmanageable mess.

I also didn't wait for it 'to cool completely'. To be honest I was just impatient after an hour or so and cross referenced David's recipe where he said you could cut the biscotti and rebake it after 15 minutes so I cut my half-baked biscotti at this point, into 1/2 inch slices not 1/4 inch slices. If I could change anything I'd divide the dough into 2 parts next time, because my biscotti are gigantic. I think I prefer them to be more petite, mainly because I am.

I then put them in the oven for 10 minutes to see how they browned since the original recipe said 10-15 minutes, whereas David's recipe said 20 - 30 minutes at a higher temperature 350F/180C.

I ended-up turning them over after 10 minutes (even though they didn't brown) and put them in for another 10 minutes - which totaled to 20 minutes more baking.

At this point, I touched the biscotti to see if they felt 'mostly firm', but felt they could use a little more baking so set the timer on for another 10 minutes. Total cooking time: 30 minutes.

I wasn't entirely happy with the results. The Biscotti were good but not great - maybe because I didn't have almond extract - but who knows? So I'll be experimenting with this over the next few months or until I get it right.

( be continued)


Ilva said...

did you like the texture etc?

Murasaki Shikibu said...

hmm good question...! I think the texture was OK and it was more the flavor that was wanting. I mean it was a perfectly OK biscotti - but I felt it could use some improvements. Do you have any recipes? I'm fishing around for some right now. ;)

Elra said...

Interesting, but I haven't made biscotti myself for such along time. I'm not sure if almond extract play an important role here.