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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Biscotti Baking Tips


These are also posted on our website, http://www.neighborhood-dish.org/, under the Recipes section.

• Make sure the biscotti dough is well mixed - take it out of the mixer bowl, dump into another bowl to be sure there isn't a puddle of wet ingredients at the bottom
• Use a scale to weigh the batch of dough, then divide by the number of "logs" the recipe calls for (i.e., 2 pounds of dough, 4 logs = 8 oz per log or 1/2 lb)
• If the dough is very sticky, you can wrap the portions in plastic, shape into a thick, short log and put in the fridge for a while to firm up a little. Then roll the dough out of the plastic and onto a floured surface to do the final rolling into a log. (Roll the logs in cocoa or sugar for a chocolate biscotti recipe)
• Most doughs need to be flattened a little after the logs are shaped, to get the most even baking throughout the loaf.
• Use parchment paper to line baking sheets. A piece of parchment can be re-used a few times.
• Slices can be baked "standing up" on the cookie sheet. This saves your fingers from trying to flip hot cookies and also takes up less space. The baking time is the same as if you flip them (i.e. 10 min, flip, 10 min = 20 min when standing).
• To decorate with melted chocolate, put wax paper down to cover the counter and set a couple of cooling racks on top. Place biscotti on cooling racks. The cookies should be lying on their sides and be spaced close together, but not touch each other.
• Put chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) into a zip-top quart-size freezer bag. Melt the chocolate in the bag by microwaving it for 15 seconds at a time; smoosh the chocolate around between bursts of microwaving by squeezing the bag (this is really fun). When the chocolate is evenly melted, smoosh all of the chocolate to the bottom of the bag and snip off the tip of the corner. Now use the freezer bag like a pastry bag and rapidly move the bag back and forth over the cookies while gently squeezing the bag, so the chocolate drizzles all over. (I usually go at a diagonal). It is important that all of the chocolate is melted, or the chunks will block the opening in the bag.
• Let the chocolate set up completely (put the cookies in the fridge for a few minutes, if you have to) and then store in tins between layers of waxed paper. This is a really easy way to make your biscotti (or any other cookie) look much harder to make than they actually were. I always use white chocolate for biscotti - you don't need to worry about tempering it, because a cocoa butter “bloom” won't be visible.
• Let the loaves of biscotti cool COMPLETELY before attempting to cut into slices. Especially important if there is chocolate chips in the dough.
• Use a serrated knife to score the tops of the loaves, then cut the slices with a sharp chef's or utility knife (I like the utility knife because the blade is thinner).

3 comments:

Jen said...

I remember your white chocolate cranberry biscottis last year and they were excellent! I've never made biscotti. These are great tips Karen!

There's Something About Mary said...

I came across your food blog by accident (I'm not a resident of Malden) and since then, I have been perusing your site at least once a week. I like your biscotti post and plan on working on it this weekend. Thanks so much for this wonderful site.

Karen said...

Thanks for visiting, Mary! I'm trying to post more often, but my entries always seem to be rather long and with a little one at home it's hard to get them finished!

I've been checking out your blog, too. The recipe for the cookies in the picture (Cranberry-White Chocolate Biscotti)can be found on our show's website,www.neighborhood-dish.org. Let us know if the recipe & tips work for you!