Thursday, December 31, 2009
Almond and Chocolate chip Biscotti and Happy New Year !
The first time I saw biscotti I thought it looked like rusk. And later, I found out that rusk is indeed the English name. These double baked cookies are known by as many different names as there are languages in Europe. If its called biscotti in Italian then Zweiback in Germany. No matter the names they have a similar process of cooking even though each ethnicity has their own way of flavouring. I can't help but quote Shakespear at this time. "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." You get the drift!
Talking about the first time I saw biscotti, it was in Germany. Walking down the streets window shopping I peeked into a bakery to glimpse a biscotti. Instantly I was reminded of rusks. You know what nostalgia does, right? A fresh breath of memories cruised in of rusks and coffee. In Kerala kids are allowed to take coffee and tea even black ones. So we, my sister and I, used to enjoy rusk dipped in our morning coffee. The coffee soaks into the rusk and the othewise subtle taste is tranformed into something like a wet coffee cake. But the first bite into Zweiback told me the textures were all the same but tastes far from the familiar. Zweiback has a distinct flavor of almond oil and nuts. If you have had rusks in Kerala you know that is definitely not how it tastes.
While talking over the phone with Sunitha she told me she loves the name "biscotti." And rusk being so much of a fond memory for me I decided to give it a shot at home. With the rest of the holiday baking I added biscotti to the list. Just like rusks this is usually dipped in coffee, tea or even wine in some places and can be a perfect holiday snack.You can make them and store in an airtight containers and it will last forever, so to speak. Best part of it all, eat them guilt free they don't have any butter :D.
I haven't used the traditional flavoring agent, almond oil in this recipe but feel free to do that in yours.
All purpose flour - 1 3/4 cup
Almonds- blanched and toasted -3/4 cup
Chocolate chips - 1/3 cup
Pure Vanilla Extract - 1tsp
Baking Powder -1 Tsp
Salt - a pich
Sugar -3/4 cup
1.Blanch the almond by putting them in boiling water for a minute and then washing under the running cold water.Slip the skins off.
2.Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.Line a baking sheet with the parchment paper.
3.Toast the almonds in the oven for almost 10 minutes or until they are done.Let it get cool enough to handle and chop coarsely.
4.In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
5.In another bowl, beat the eggs well. Add sugar and beat till it becomes creamy.
6.Beat in the vanilla extract to this.
7.Mix the dry and wet mixtures together well.
8.Fold in the chopped almonds and chocolate chips.
9.Transfer this dough to the baking sheet and make a log out of the dough. The log should be approximately 11-12 inches long and 3-4 inches wide.
10.Moisten your hands while doing this, since the dough is bit sticky.
11.Bake for 23-25 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool enough.
12.Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degree F.
13.Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into slices that are 3/4 inch thick, just like you slice a log of bread.
14.Place the biscotti with cut side down on the baking tray and bake again for 10 minutes.
15.Take out from the oven, turn the sides and bake for 10 minutes.
16.At this point the biscotti is not very firm to touch, but it gets firmer when it cools down.
17. Store in a long airtight container.
Contributor : Namitha
Recipe Courtesy:Joy of baking