Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lake Como Biscotti


This is one plain, biscotti recipe from Maida Heatter's book of Cookies. Plain does not translate into bad, but in a world of cappuchino and Nutella biscotti this is ordinary. Maybe the kind you will eat in Italy, and that is where Maida had it too.

I have made several biscotti recipes but this recipe was quite finicky- grinding up almonds, getting the zest of lemons etc etc...

Lake como biscotti

2 cups whole blanched almonds (I kept the skin on)
2 cups sifted AP flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp b.powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup minus 2 T sugar
2 large eggs
finely garted rind of 1 large lemon
1 T plus 1.5 tsp lemon juice
scant ½ tsp almond extract


Toast the almonds in a shallow pan in a preheated 350- degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly colored, shaking the pan once or twice. You can tell when they are done by the strong smell of toasted almonds when you open the oven door. Set aside to cool.

Oven 375 F. Turn baking sheets upside down and line with parchment or foil.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, b.powder and salt. Add sugar and mix. Add about ½ cup of this flour mixture to the food processor. Add ½ cup of toasted almond and process for about 30 seconds, or until the nuts is fine and powdery.
In a large bowl, mix together the processed ingredients with the remaining sifted dry ingredients. Stir in the almonds.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs with rind, lemon juice and almond extrcat just to mix. With a large rubber or wooden spatula stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients until well-moistened.

Lightly flour a large board and turn dough onto it. Sprinkle a little flour on top. Shape it into a mound. With a long, sharp knife, cut into equal quarters. Flour surface and hands and roll each piece into long narrow shape, 10 inch long and 1 inch wide. Brush off loose flour. Don’t flatten tops.

Place all four rolls, crosswise on lined sheets, 2 inch apart. Bake loaves in upper rack for 20 min, reversing halfway. Mine was done in 10 min. I overbaked the logs and result was I had great difficulty slicing and things were falling apart. They should be lightly colored and feel almost firm.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees and remove the sheets from the oven. Immediately, with a wide metal spatula, release a strip from the parchment or foil and place it on a board. Repeat with the second strip. Use a pot holder or a folded towel to hold one of the hot strips in place, and use a serrated French bread knife to cut the strip crosswise into slices 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. Repeat with the second strip. For me though, the longer I let the logs sit, the better luck I had slicing them. Place the slices, cut side down, on unlined cookie sheets with a little space between them. Return to oven to bake at 275 degrees for 35-40 minutes, turning slices and reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during baking. At the end of baking, they should be a pale honey color on both sides. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Comments- The addition of ground almonds did not help the flavor in any way. It is just more work. The whole almonds look very pretty in the biscotti but made slicing difficult. For a plain-tasting biscotti, this is too hard a recipe and it yielded only around 30 for me and not 50 as stated in Maida's book. I still hear great things about her Gingerful biscotti and will be trying them soon.

4 comments:

  1. They look great! I love biscotti.

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  2. looks and sounds fantastic. am gonna try it this weekend. thanks.

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  3. I Love Biscottis dipped in my coffee....what a treat, thanks for the recipe. Yours looks very authentic!

    ts

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  4. Mika, I've been through the baking time hassle many times... how quickly cakes or biscuits cook depends so much on the kind of oven you have, that the instructions in the recipes are largely useless. Nowadays I just say "bake till cake tests done" - and if it's biscuits, I keep an eagle eye on them while they're baking! :)

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