Tuesday, September 15, 2015

chocolate peanut butter chip biscotti

The other day I was walking through my local specialty shop and found that they were sampling "authentic" Italian biscotti. Naturally, I stopped by...multiple times, until the lady cutting the biscotti began to give me looks. By then I was already full. On my third or fourth visit, I caught  glance at the unit price for an "authentic" Italian biscotto (the singular for biscotti): $2.oo per biscotto. I'm all for quality, but at that price I might as well be eating gold bars speckled with diamonds! Then I had an epiphany. I could make a killing selling biscotti around my neighborhood. But because food bloggers are inherently exercise adverse (at least this one is), I set aside that idea for a good three weeks until today. Turns out, biscotti are much easier than the "authentic" Italians are leading them up to be. Follow these easy steps and you too can enjoy authentic biscotti without taking the equity out of your home to pay down biscotti loans. You might even become a millionaire selling them to your neighbors. As always, I hold a 30% royalty on all recipes you sell to your loved ones. ;-)

Recipe (yields 2 dozen biscotti)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of peanut butter chips
some flour or confectioner's sugar
extra 1/2 cup of chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisking achieves the same goal as sifting. Unless you enjoy spending forty minutes sifting flour, cleaning flour-covered tables, and washing sieves, the whisk is your modus operandi.

2. In another bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until the mixture is pale, fluffy, and ethereal. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined well. Add the vanilla extract (careful not to put too much or else your biscotti will taste like sickly flowers). Somebody once told me that if you don't have a hand/stand mixer, a food processor does the job handily. Then again, somebodies are usually not reliable sources. On the other hand Bill Gates is a somebody and one should always listen to him. Then again again, Bill Gates is probably not a biscotti artisan. A manual whisk is also fine if you have really strong muscles like me.

3. Slowly add the flour mixture into the creamed butter to form the biscotti. The dough should be pretty stiff. If you were wondering, biscotti in Italian means "twice-baked". In modern-day Italian, biscotti can refer to anything from a cookie to a stale piece of bread. It makes sense then that the dough is slightly stiffer than an ordinary cookie dough which has much more butter and is looser. 

5. Bake for 35 minutes at 350F, or until slightly firm to the touch. They should not be done at this point. Cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes.

4. Mix in the peanut butter chips until they are combined. Try not to get mixing-happy or else you will over mix. Over-mixed creates tough biscotti while we want light and crispy biscotti. Unless you're into the whole tough thing in which over-mix as your heart desires. When you're satisfied you can join the rest of the group.

6. Transfer the biscotti to a cutting board. With a serrated bread knife, cut the cookie mounds into 3/4 inch slices diagonally. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes extra, or until crisp. Cool on a rack. The only time to eat a biscotto is after it has completely cooled off. Biscotti are a very chef-friendly cookie because while you're waiting for the biscotti to cool, the edges are yours to eat. This is what we call in the business "the chef's commission". If you're friends find you cuddled in the corner stuffing biscotti edges into your mouth while watching Spanish soap operas, they know not to disturb you.

For the true Chowderheads of the world, wherever they may be, I'm sorry I have not posted for a while. To be honest, I lacked much motivation to write, but after reading some of your comments I was reminded who these recipes were really for. Thank you all for supporting me and commenting how I can keep improving. Your support is worth more to me than all the biscotti in the world. And as always,


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