Day 290: Brownie Biscotti

Brownie+Biscotti Day 290: Brownie Biscotti
Today has been an enormous, pregnant albatross attempting to take off from a well-greased runway. With a piano tied to its ass.

I finally sat down to my 100 or so hours’ worth of editing (that was due yesterday) at around 1, and had to leave at 3:30 to pick up my nephew from school. Having not really paid attention when planning this I told my sister we’d hang out at her house until she got home from work, and having simply written “pick up kids from school” on the calendar, it hadn’t registered that she wouldn’t get home from her meeting until after 8. It occurred to me at about 6:30 that she wasn’t coming home anytime soon and I was responsible for dinner, there, at about the same moment W came into the kitchen crying, with a fresh handful of splinters.

Has anyone experienced a three year old with splinters? Lots of them? For the first time? It was much louder than that. While I consoled him/wrestled him into a body lock that might allow me a closer look, during which he flailed and thrashed, embedding the slivers even deeper (will I ever get better at this?) Ben ate two granola bars, a bag of fruit gummies, a fruit cocktail cup and two cheese slices, plowing his way through a weeks’ worth of lunch accessories from the cupboard before I noticed. He then brought W some digestive cookies in an attempt to console him, and by the time all was relatively calm again it was after 7. All told, the boys ate the aforementioned snacks, pears, and shared a blueberry bagel. I ate digestive cookies and a Wagon Wheel. And the second half of two pears. I have no idea what Mike ate.

Upon arriving home and getting W to bed by 9, I was about to get back to work editing and prepping for my first “Dinner with Julie” cooking class in Red Deer tomorrow when I remembered I had committed to baking breakfast breads and biscotti for 80 women at an event that begins at 8 Saturday morning, and I won’t be home from Red Deer until around midnight tomorrow night. So… I’m now baking 7 dozen biscotti and will have to find the time tomorrow morning to bake around 8 quick loaves. I’ve eaten the ends off all the biscotti logs so far but have still not gone back to my editing/nutritional analyses/magazine article.

I made chocolate brownie biscotti and a savoury rosemary-Parmesan biscotti with chopped dried figs. A total experiment, yes, but I have high hopes. For the savoury ones I blended the dry ingredients with about a half cup of Parmesan and the leaves off a couple twigs of rosemary in the food processor, then cut in the butter (in the processor), dumped it into a bowl and stirred in the wet ingredients, then shaped the dough into long, narrow logs. I’m hoping they will go well with Saturday’s afternoon wine tasting.

One more thought on the subject of biscotti: it doesn’t really have to be baked twice. They are cooked through after the first baking, so if you’re not a fan of rock-hard cookies there’s always the option of slicing them and then serving them as is; nice and soft. (Kids are far happier with them this way too.)

Basic Biscotti

This is a great blank biscotti canvas to start with: try flavouring the dough with different extracts, ginger or grated orange or lemon zest, add spices such as cinnamon or espresso powder to the dry ingredients, and stir in any kind of nut, seed, dried fruit or chocolate you think would work.

2 Tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until almost combined; add any additions you want and stir just until blended. If it seems dry, use your hands to complete the mixing as the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide in half and shape each piece into an 8” long log. Place the logs 2”–3” apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray, and flatten each into a rectangle that is about 3” wide.

Bake for 20–25 minutes, until firm and starting to crack on top. Transfer the logs to a wire rack to cool for a bit and reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.

When they’re cool enough to handle (they tend to crumble when they’re still hot), place the logs on a cutting board, trim the ends and cut each log diagonally into 1/2”–3/4” slices with a serrated knife. Place the slices upright on the cookie sheet, spacing them about 1/2” apart so that there’s room for the air to circulate between them, and return to the oven for 30 minutes. If you like, turn the heat off and leave the biscotti inside the oven until it cools down to make them even harder.

Makes 2 dozen biscotti.

Per Biscotti: 78 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.7 g saturated fat, 0.4 g monounsaturated fat, 0.1 g polyunsaturated fat), 14.3 g carbohydrates, 20.5 mg cholesterol, 1.6 g protein, 0.3 g fiber. 17% calories from fat

A few flavour ideas:

Cranberry, Orange & White Chocolate Chunk Biscotti: Add the grated zest of an orange to the butter-sugar mixture, and 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries and 1 cup white chocolate chunks or chips to the dough along with the flour.

Cantuccini (Almond Biscotti): For traditional Italian cantuccini, use almond extract instead of vanilla and add 1 cup slivered or sliced almonds to the dough along with the flour.

Almond Chocolate Chunk Biscotti: Use almond extract instead of vanilla, and add 1 cup of slivered or sliced almonds and 1/2 cup chopped chocolate to the dough along with the flour.

Lemon White chocolate Biscotti: Add the grated zest of a lemon to the butter-sugar mixture, and 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks or chips to the dough along with the flour.

Apricot Ginger Biscotti: Add 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger to the butter-sugar mixture, and 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots and 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger along with the flour.

Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti: Add the grated zest of 1 or 2 lemons to the butter-sugar mixture, and 1/4 cup poppyseeds along with the flour.

Matcha Green Tea Biscotti: Add 1 Tbsp. dried matcha green tea to the flour mixture, and add 1/2 cup slivered almonds.

Brownie Biscotti

2 Tbsp. butter or non-hydrogenated margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips or white chocolate chunks
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir until almost combined; add the chocolate chips and walnuts and stir just until blended.

On a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray, shape the dough into a 10” long log. Flatten it with your hands until it’s 3”-4” wide.

Bake for 30–35 minutes, until firm and cracked on top. Transfer the log to a wire rack to cool for a bit and reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.

When the log is cool enough to handle (they tend to crumble when they’re hot), transfer to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2”–3/4” slices with a serrated knife. Place the slices upright on the cookie sheet, spacing them about 1/2” apart so that there’s room for the air to circulate between them, and return to the oven for 30 minutes. If you like, turn the heat off and leave the biscotti inside the oven until it cools down to make them even harder.

Makes about 15 biscotti.

Per Biscotti: 173 calories, 5.8 g fat (2.7 g saturated fat, 2.1 g monounsaturated fat, 0.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 27.6 g carbohydrates, 33.4 mg cholesterol, 3.3 g protein, 2 g fiber. 30% calories from fat

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October 16 2008 11:01 pm | cookies & squares

11 Responses to “Day 290: Brownie Biscotti”

  1. Jan on 17 Oct 2008 at 6:21 am #

    Wait until they’re asleep. It’s amazing what they can sleep through.

  2. Barb on 17 Oct 2008 at 7:34 am #

    I must apologize. I had to laugh at your narrative. Out loud even. And I know it wasn’t funny. Can I come and help you?

  3. Shaun on 17 Oct 2008 at 7:40 am #

    All this, and you’re still writing your blog, with full sentences and no spelling mistakes. As a mom and a dinner-maker, I am in awe of your blog. As an editor and writer — double-awe. New Year’s Day 2009 is going to be a sad day.

  4. elektra on 17 Oct 2008 at 8:19 am #

    red wine emergency.

    i can’t wait for the stroke of 4pm to open the bottle. i’ve already put it on the counter and it’s only 9:17am. the money fairies have come to my house this week and depleted my accounts. the dog. the flood in the basement. the bumper on my car that ‘met’ the garage. children that keep growing out of their shoes.

  5. maplesugar on 17 Oct 2008 at 9:03 am #

    I have held down my wriggly howling 2&1/2 year old for splinter removal not a fun job…darn backyard climber is bad for splinters. Although this week I discovered there are worse things :/ I had to help keep J still while the nurses at Children’s emerg dept drew blood and put in an IV…a few times they suggested it was ok if I needed to leave the room. I couldn’t leave him but omg the sight of them drawing blood from my poor little boy was enough to make my head spin. J, the same kid who while we were on vacation broke his arm climbing some furniture now has pneumonia(pardon doc, what?! pneumonia?!!) other than the one night he’s been fine…so much so you wouldn’t know he had it except for the xrays of is left lung.

    “Today has been an enormous, pregnant albatross attempting to take off from a well-greased runway. With a piano tied to its ass.” made me lmao out loud – what a visual(thankfully DH & the kids were asleep or they’d wonder about my sanity). You made my week sweetee!

    I too would love to help if you ever need another set of hands/oven for a late-night baking marathon :)

  6. Rachel on 17 Oct 2008 at 9:25 am #

    That first sentence says it all! We all have those days, and I hope you have a weeks worth of good ones to help balance it out.

  7. Dana McCauley on 17 Oct 2008 at 3:14 pm #

    OMG – what a day! How do you do it? I’m in tatters just reading about it.

  8. robyn on 17 Oct 2008 at 4:07 pm #

    Your biscotti recipes are ALWAYS my ‘go-to’ recipes for gifts. My dad is probably the biggest fan/recipient.

    Sorry about your crap day. You could have used a clone or two!

  9. Terri on 17 Oct 2008 at 5:37 pm #

    Today has been an enormous, pregnant albatross attempting to take off from a well-greased runway. With a piano tied to its ass.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA( wipes tears away ) OMG I absolutley LOVE this line! Julie, you are truly one of a kind!

    Terri

  10. Cory on 18 Oct 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    Excellent! I’ve always wanted to try and make biscotti. Now I have recipes. :D

  11. Janeen on 16 Nov 2008 at 6:43 pm #

    Hey Julie,
    I’ve been trying different kinds of biscotti. How did the savory ones turn out?

    Janeen

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