Archive for March, 2011

American Style Vanilla Biscotti

March 8, 2011

Vanilla Biscotti

A few days ago I mentioned that I had come across two wonderful biscotti recipes. Today I’m writing about the second of those two recipes. Before I start talking about this particular biscotti I want to say that biscotti are no more difficult to make than drop cookies, and in some ways they’re easier because you can do more multi-tasking during their longer bake cycles.

These cookies aren’t the classic super hard biscotti. They’re crispy and great for dunking… or eating straight up if you don’t like to dunk.  I’ve made them with and without add ins, but I have to say that I’ve decided I like them best with no more than the flavor of vanilla. That said, I haven’t tried them with anise, and I think these might be a really good place for anise.

Tea time!

The recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour website. If you’re a novice biscotti baker you might want to check out the blog where PJ Hamel wrote about them. There are step by step photos that you might find helpful. One of the tips I like best is where you spray the baked log lightly with room temperature water before slicing the log into cookies.  This really seems to help in the quest for nice clean cuts.

The recipe with tips and variations can be found here. One more tip I’d like to share with you is that if you have vanilla bean paste this is a great place to use it in place of the regular vanilla. There’s something wonderful about those vanilla bean specks. I used Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, which I ordered from King Arthur Flour.

If you love vanilla bean paste, here’s another good recipe where it really shines. Vanilla Ice Cream

Apricot-Orange Shortbread Bars

March 7, 2011

Apricot Orange Shortbread Bars

If I could only have one cookie for the rest of my life this might be the one. Statements like that are so melodramatic but it manages to convey how much I love these bars. Prior to eating one of these I might have told you I don’t like apricots. Ha! That’s obviously not true! I would have said yes, I like shortbread, and I adore anything almond. What I’ve learned is that the three together are a heavenly combination.

I used to use only Hero brand apricot preserves for these, but I’ve discovered that there is something different about those preserves and they aren’t as good as they used to be. My recommendation for preserves is to choose a brand with the least number of ingredients on the label, and more fruit than sugar if possible. These bars were made with Bonne Maman French preserves. Next fall when the apricots are plentiful I’m hoping I can find the time to make my own. The Bonne Maman preserves are wonderful, but as much as I like them I’d like to figure out a less expensive alternative.

This recipe can be found at Epicurious.

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

March 6, 2011

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

I’ve wanted to try these cookies for a few years because they look a little like my grandma’s chocolate sundae cookies. There are two things I liked about these. The first is the frosting. It has a nice flow to it when you frost the cookies and it sets so that when you hold the cookie your hands don’t get sticky. The frosting also happens to taste good.

The second thing I like about this recipe is that the cookies are baked until firm and then a marshmallow half is place on the cookie while it’s still warm and then returned to the oven for 2 minutes more. When the cookies are removed from the oven you gently press down on the warm marshmallow to flatten it slightly. This makes the marshmallow cover the cookie a little more making them easier to frost, and you get a better marshmallow to cookie ratio as you eat them.

I added some chopped maraschino cherries to the dough to make them more like the chocolate sundae cookies. The first day I thought I liked these cookies better than the chocolate sundae cookies, but by the second day the texture wasn’t as good as the first day and I decided to stick with the chocolate sundae cookie recipe. I will use this frosting and I like the idea of flattening the warm marshmallows.

The recipe is from Martha Stewart. You can find it here.

Gingerbread Biscotti

March 5, 2011

I have recently stumbled upon a couple of really great biscotti recipes and today I’m sharing the bolder one of the two. This is the cookie I wish I could keep on hand at all times, and I could if my husband and I could only keep our hands out of the cookie jar. It has a satisfying crunch and a mouthful of flavor. It’s firm but not too hard, and has chunks of crystallized ginger. You can dunk it in your afternoon tea or coffee if you’d like, but you’ll enjoy it even if you’re not a dunker. With no eggs or butter you can even keep it vegan to share with your vegan friends if you use a non-dairy milk like almond milk. The recipe appears several places on the Internet. It was of course brought to my attention at Cookie Madness. You can see Anna’s post and the recipe here.

The first time I made them I used regular dairy milk, but next time I’m going to try almond milk.

Gingerbread biscotti

These are excellent and I won’t be limiting them to fall or holiday baking. I love ginger and think it’s a flavor to be enjoyed year round.


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