Sunday, May 23, 2010

spiced cornmeal biscotti

Can you remember your first impression of biscotti???  Mine wasn't exactly 'love from the first bite'. Good friend of mine, who also happens to be an amazingly creative baker invited me over for coffee and asked me to be a taste tester for her newly discovered cookie recipe, she could not stop raving about. Girlie talk, coffee while munching on cookies??? Of course I would do it, no need to ask me twice! As soon as I arrived into her house, I knew it was going to be something special and something different.....all that excitement in her eyes!
So I carefully examined interestingly looking cookie....mmmm...loaded with pistachios, dried fruit and lemon zest....weird texture though...but.....not wanting to hurt her feelings.....I took a bite......
While with tears in her eyes she chuckled at first, soon got struck with uncontrollable laughter..... I on the other hand....kept riding my tongue over  front teeth, making sure they didn't chip....As soon as she was able to calm down, she explained that biscotti is baked twice to achieve this hard and crunchy texture, and it's meant to be enjoyed with hot coffee, tea or sweet wine. So to make a long story short, as soon as I dunked it in a cup of coffee, the hard cookie simply stole my heart!
The inspiration for cornmeal biscotti came to me from Ashley of Small Measures blog, you can see her dried fig and pistachio version here, I made mine with bittersweet chocolate, pecans, crystallized ginger and spices. Enjoy and for the sake of your teeth make some coffee or tea! 

shopping list
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar or 1/2 c sugar and 1/4 c honey
2 large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp cardamon
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips(I used Michel Cluizel 72% cocoa, amazing!), tossed with some flour
1 c. pecans, chopped
1/4c crystallized ginger, finely chopped

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
-Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
-Add butter to mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth.
-Add sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
-Scrape down sides of mixer, add eggs one at a time, and beat until well incorporated.
-Reduce mixer speed to low; add flour mixture until just incorporated.
-Remove bowl from mixer; stir in chocolate drops , chopped ginger and pecans until well-incorporated. 
-Using a spatula, scrape dough out onto parchment-lined baking sheet in a log shape. You want it to be roughly 3 1/2 inches wide by 14 inches long. Use spatula or your hands to pat it into shape. 
-Bake 30-35 minutes, until lightly browned.
-Remove from oven, place baking pan on a wire cooling rack, and allow to cool 15 minutes.
-Transfer biscotti log onto a cutting board (carefully; if it is too hot, the log will crack). 
-Using a serrated knife, cut the log into slices 1/2-inch thick. 
-Place slices back onto parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for 15-17 minutes rotating sheet half-way through, until the edges brown.
-Allow to cool on a wire rack.

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