October 16, 2012

Cinnamon Walnut Biscotti

Soooo...hey there. 
Remember me? 
I'm that one girl who started a food blog, said whatever random thought came to my head, showed you some pretty sweet recipes, but then fell off the face of the earth?
Remember me now?
**insert crickets here**
Well, I guess that's what happens when you fall of the earth's face, now doesn't it?
There is totally a reason I went dark.
I went out & became one of those fancy-shmancy bakers...like, for realsies.
But once I hit a creative wall, I decided to pack up my chef's coat & go back to what I loved most:
Doing things my own way with my very own baking gig & gettin' all kinds of creative with it.

Now I'm back with a couple of nifty tricks up my coat sleeve &
 I'm wielding a mean a** biscotti.
CHURCH.
Soooo...this may NOT be the best way to start this blog but can I just begin by saying that I never really liked biscotti? 
I know, I know. 
Here I am writing about it, baking it, & trying to get all of you to fall in love with it so much that you'll go into your kitchens & make it too, and yet there I go, totally putting down biscotti like a mean tweenager.

But I just need you to trust me.
^^This ain't your nonna's biscotti.^^
(Nonna = grandmother in case you have no idea what I'm talking about)

I actually like this biscotti and I bet yo' nonna, you will like this biscotti, too.
As a matter of fact, I liked it so much that I started to anthropomorphize the biscotti
& realized that if biscotti were a person, we'd have a lot in common.
Maybe even be BFF's...For instance:

BISCOTTI:
The word biscotti comes from the Latin word biscoctus, meaning "twice-baked or cooked".
ME:
In college, sometimes I would party two days in a row therefore, I too, have been "biscoctus".
BISCOTTI:
The biscotti cooking method of twice-baking was used as a means of prolonging the "shelf-life" during ancient "refridgeration-free" times.
ME:
After turning 30, I started putting on face cream in order to prolong the shelf-life of my face.

Anywho....

Traditionally, biscotti uses anise extract but I tend to associate anise with this amazingly effective yet absolutely gross tea my mom gave me when I had cramps soooo....I'm not putting it in a biscuit.
Lucky for me, the awesome thing about biscotti is that it is pretty versatile.  You can use just about any kind of extract, spices, & nuts in the mix and dip it in just about anything you can think of.
Enough of the history lesson, let's make some Biscotti!!


Biscotti starts off pretty simple:
First, add all the wet ingredients together.

Then all of the dry ingredients... 

Then you mix it all together until it forms a little dough ball like this:
(aren't the little flecks of cinnamon & vanilla so wonderful??)

Roll your dough out into a log then flatten them to about 1/2" thickness using as little excess flour as possible. I really didn't need any extra flour because my dough wasn't that sticky.  Some people roll out the dough between sheets of wax paper.  I tried it & then proceeded to cuss out the wax paper for being so difficult so I just used my fancy little hands instead.
FYI: There's a lot of curse words used in my kitchen.
Oh, if these walls could talk....they'd say the F word. LOUDLY.

I had some extra walnuts in my cupboard so I thought they'd be a nice addition to my biscotti.
But some people have a thing about nuts so I made only half of the logs with them.
Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you blah, blah, blah...(copyright infringement avoided).

Once they have baked to golden brown & you have cut them to about 2" wide, turn them on their sides like little biscotti soldiers & re-bake for about 5 minutes to brown the sides.

Allow to cool on a baking sheet, then proceed to dip them in something delicious.
I chose chocolate & extra walnuts.
But most importantly, I chose chocolate....

Stand them on their sides again and allow the chocolate to harden.
Dip in your coffee & sit down with a good book.
I chose the Culinary Institute's "Baking and Pastry: Master the Art and Craft" & "How Baking Works".
One teaches you about baking as an art & the other teaches you the chemistry behind baking.
I'm gettin' my learn on, y'all. Watch out.




Cinnamon Walnut Biscotti
(Makes about 3.5 dozen, 2inch wide biscotti)
Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste but any extract works)

chocolate chips for dipping, melted (this is optional. Chocolate can be milk, dark, semi-sweet, or white)
1 cup chopped walnuts (or any other nut of your preference)


Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
3.  Wisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Set aside.
4.  Beat oil, eggs, sugar & extract together until blended. I made this all by hand but a mixer with the paddle attachment can also be used.  Just don't overbeat the mix or you will be eating a rock by the time you are done!
5.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in small amounts until a heavy dough forms.  
7.  Divide dough in 2 pieces.  

8.  Roll each ball into logs the length of the cookie sheet you are using.  
9.  Using a rolling pin, roll out each log to about 1/2" thickness.
10. Sprinkle with nuts or leave plain.  
11. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
12. Remove from oven and using a large straight knife, cut into 2" strips while hot.  If you wait until they cool, the biscuits will crumble into a hot mess.
13. Stand up individual biscuits on their sides and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes on each side.  The sides should appear to be slightly golden brown. 
14. Cool completely on a wire rack before dipping into chocolate, rolling in nuts and placing them back on the wire rack allowing for chocolate to set.








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