Thursday, February 12, 2009

Biscotti: Round 3 - David Lebovitz's Chocolate Biscotti

I think I've mentioned that I've been wanting to make David Lebovitz's Chocolate Biscotti and I finally managed to scrape together a 'semblance' of the ingredients necessary for this and made them.

The problem with this recipe is that using a superb cocoa powder is so integral to it that you almost want to give-up if you can't get your hands on any.

That said - even without superb cocoa powder nothing David makes could be possibly bad - or so I told myself and went ahead and made it anyway with the only cocoa powder I could find in stores that were walking distance from my area. Problem is I still haven't recovered entirely from my bout of flu and couldn't travel very far. I don't have obvious symptoms anymore but I still feel pretty weak so going to another city to buy cocoa isn't something I want to do yet.

I couldn't find any chocolate chips either so I substituted this with a bar of Lindt Excellence 70% dark chocolate which I chopped up into small pieces. As I opened the package I realized there was only 100 g of chocolate even though the recipe required 120 g of chocolate chips.

I also have to add that I used whatever sugar I had lying around for the glaze and it wasn't demerara sugar.

Plus, I still haven't managed to procure any almond essence.

So let's say there were lots of deviations from what I was really supposed to do. All the little details that count and make the difference between 'very good' and 'excellent' were not there - and my cocoa was not Valrhona but Valor!

Something worries me about Valor as the container has interesting labels saying that it's 'sugar free', 'fat free' and that it's '100% natural'. These are rather funny things to be advertising about pure cocoa powder. It also says: 'Suitable for diabetics'. Whatever. But at least it's pure cocoa powder and doesn't have anything else in it and it doesn't taste terrible. It's nothing special, but it tastes like....cocoa powder.

To sum it up, the chocolate biscotti with the watered down ingredients were delicious, but they weren't heavenly as I'd hoped they'd be and I blame it on the fact that I didn't have EXACTLY the right ingredients. I mean after all David states very clearly: "Use a good-quality cocoa powder. You can use natural or Dutch-process for these, whichever one you like. Just remember that the chocolate flavor of the finished cookies is dependent on the quality of cocoa powder you use."

Don't get me wrong. The biscotti were still very good despite all these issues. But I'm sure they'd be even better if I'd had the right cocoa, right sugar and almond essence. Like I said before, it was the difference between 'very good' and 'excellent'.

That said, I made 48 of them and by midnight there were only 30 left.


Anonymous said...

These look absolutely amazing! All your photos are amazing.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Thank you :) I didn't even have a camera for a long time because I got sick & tired of hearing about Japanese people and their cameras.

I still don't like bringing the camera to me when I go out and most of the photography is done on my balcony (so people don't see me with the camera). LOL