Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TWD: Chocolate Biscotti

I feel like I won the lottery this week! and I kind of did. Believe it or not, after three years of baking, chopping, caramelizing, and mixing, all of the Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) bakers have had a turn picking the weekly recipe and we're (kind of) starting over. Instead of going back to the beginning of the list, however, Laurie, founder of TWD, has opted for a "pick a name out of the hat" approach and so I get to pick this week. YEAH!!

I have to take a moment to applaud Dorie for a really fabulous baking book. After making 150 or so of the recipes from this book, I feel qualified to say that this is one of the best baking books EVER. The recipes are consistently good, the directions clear and precise, and there's so much variety. Bravo to Dorie!

There were still plenty of tempting recipes to choose from and I went with the Chocolate Biscotti.

Dorie's directions first call for mixing the ingredients and rolling halves of the dough into 12" logs, then flattening them out. I opted for a lazier approach and dropped hunks of the batter into loose rows.

I dipped my fingers in some cocoa powder and nudged, prodded, and coaxed the cookie dough into flattish logs. Then I sprinkled on some sugar, as directed.

Next came the first round of baking, about 25 minutes.

The baked logs were allowed to cool slightly and then sliced.

Next, the slices are placed cut-side-up back on the baking sheet and then into the oven they go for their second round of baking. Here's my secret, though, I only bake about half of them the second time. I leave some on the racks to cool because I think they're just perfect at this point.

Then all that's left to to kick back and enjoy! These biscotti were perfectly chocolate and just plain delish. If you noticed, I left half of them plain and half of them had chopped pistachios and dried cherries added. Either way, they were awesome!

Chocolate Biscotti

Reproduced with permission from "Baking, From my home to yours", by Dorie Greenspan.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped almonds, blanched or unblanched
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
sugar, for dusting

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone mat.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes; the mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don't worry if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 12 inch long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle each log with a little sugar.

Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will spread and crack - and that's just fine. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, put it on a cooling rack and cool the logs for about 20 minutes. (Leave the oven on.)

Working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick. Stand the slices up on the baking sheet - you'll have an army of biscotti - and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes.

Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

TWD: Blueberry Brown Sugar Plain Cake

Cindy of Everyday Insanity chose Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe.

Simple, cinnamony, with a big hit of blueberry; this was a perfect snacking cake.

Perfect for this time of year too, with fruits becoming more plentiful (and cheaper!) in the stores.

I would definitely make this again.

Thanks so much to Cindy for a great pick and Dorie for a great recipe. If you'd like to see the recipe you can visit Cindy's blog (link above) or Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking, From my Home to Yours".