Sunday, January 30, 2011

Almond Orange Rosemary Biscotti

It just wouldn't feel right to start a new blog without a proper introduction. : )   To anyone who's reading this, though there are very few (if any) of you out there, I'm Mary and I am 15 years old.  I'm an aspiring chef, and a photography fan (my flickr account can be found here).  A friend of mine suggested I start a food blog and post photos and recipes of my weekly culinary creations, so here I am, sharing with you a favourite of mine: biscotti.  

Biscotti is one of the few things I make every week - normally on a Monday, or Tuesday.  Though I use various nuts and dried fruits, my secret ingredients are rosemary and orange zest.  I guess it's because they are two very homey, familiar flavours to me, and they taste great in combination with the sweetness or the biscotti.  Oh, and, I'm sorry to rant, but I'm sure you foodies out there will understand what I mean - I get very irritated when I see a biscotti recipe with butter in the ingredient recipe.  The biscotti that is served at Starbucks is merely an americanized version of the traditional italian classic.  A traditional biscotti must be firm, hard, and strong enough to dip into coffee or tea - not cakey,  fragile and overly sweet.

This recipe is one that I have come up with after trying and combining various versions of biscotti recipes in the past week after week.
Almond Orange Rosemary Biscotti

Makes 18-25 biscotti
2/3 cup (135 g) sugar
2 eggs 
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp anise extract (purely optional)
1-3/4 cup (245 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
3/4 tsp orange zest
1 cup (approx. 140 g) almonds, toasted & coarsely chopped

  1.  Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2.  Beat sugar with eggs in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer, if one is not available) for approximately 10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes pale in colour, and forms thick ribbons when the beaters are lifted.  Meanwhile,  in a medium-sized bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, rosemary, and orange zest.
  3. Add the vanilla extract, anise extract (if using) to the egg and sugar mixture and beat in.
  4. Pause mixer and add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Cover stand mixer with a towel and mix on low speed until combined.  (Alternatively, gradually add the dry mass with the mixer running on low speed.)
  5. Fold the chopped almonds into the mass.  Wet your hands and form the mixture into a log that is approximately 4-5 times as long as it is wide.  I always eyeball the shape, but if you're a first-time biscotti baker, I would recommend to aim for a log that is 30 cm (12 inches) by 9 cm (3.5 inches).
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until visible cracks to form and the log is relatively dry and firm to the touch.
  7. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (165°C). 
  8. Once cool, using a sharp knife dipped slightly in water, cut log into 1/2-inch slices and lay them out directly on baking sheet (without parchment paper).  Bake for 7 minutes, flip over each biscotti, and bake 7 minutes more.  (The timing is important, as you don't want your biscotti to come out dry.) Cool on a wire rack.  Biscotti can be stored in an airtight container (or without, as well) for up to 2 weeks.

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