Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sunrise Biscotti

Everyone loves a good cookie, right? With so many deliciously easy classics like chocolate chip, peanut butter & sugar, why would anyone want to spend extra time cooking them instead of eating them? Maybe it's because as we grow our palates become more sophisticated. Maybe it's just a never-ending search for the "perfect" cookie. I really don't know the reason, but I do know that there is a cookie that has become wildly popular since the coffee explosion of the 90's that tends to be overlooked as a classic. I'm talking about biscotti.
While the cookie's invention is credited to a Tuscan baker, who served them with a glass of sweet wine, they were actually being used way before the Renaissance by the Romans. I say being "used" because they weren't a product of indulgence; they were a form of nourishment. Biscotti, from the root words "bis" meaning "twice" & "cotto" meaning "cooked", were unleavened wafers that were baked once to cook them, cooled & then baked a second time to dry them out. Drawing out the moisture in the wafers extended their shelf-life & enabled the Legions to be away on long journeys with food that would resist mold & spoilage & still taste fresh. While the idea of baking twice seems daunting, I actually find it much faster than baking 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies. And the variety of biscotti is only limited to the imagination. Try my original creation of blood orange, white chocolate & pecans. I don't mind dunking my biscotti in coffee, but I really like to just enjoy the delicate mixture of flavors on their own. Therefore, Sunrise Biscotti will produce a slightly softer cookie than the biscotti found in coffee shops everywhere.

Sunrise Biscotti

1/4 cup butter (no substitutes)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 blood orange
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In large mixer bowl, add sugar, butter & honey.
3. Grate the peel from the blood orange using the large side of the cheese grater. Take care not to grate the pith (the white layer between peel & fruit). Add grated peel to mixer bowl.
4. Cut orange in half & squeeze juice out of both halves; add to bowl.
5. Cream all together til light & fluffy.
6. Add almond extract & then both eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
7. Sift together flour, baking powder & salt. Gradually blend into creamed mixture.
8. With wooden spoon, stir in chopped pecans & white chocolate chips. Dough will be slightly sticky.
9. Turn out onto lightly floured surface & divide into two halves.
10. Using your hands, roll one half into a 10-12 inch log & place lengthwise on greased cookie sheet.
11. Gently flatten log into a long rectangle about 2-1/2 inches wide. Repeat with second half of dough, leaving about 3 inches between flattened logs on cookie sheet.
12. Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven, or until a pale gold color.
13. Remove from oven but leave logs on baking sheet til cool enough to handle.
14. Gently transfer to cutting board & slice each log on a diagonal into 1-inch wide slices.
15. Return to baking sheet & arrange so that there is a little space between each cookie.
16. Return to oven & bake 10 minutes, then turn each cookie over to expose the opposite cut side & bake for 10 minutes more or until golden & crisp.

Yield: 24 cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License