Friday, August 6, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 31

Is it ever too hot or too cold to eat certain foods?  The other night, I made lasagna and Evan complained that it was too hot for lasagna.  I think he just didn't want to have lasagna because if I had fixed cheeseburgers (equally hot), he would have been more than happy to gobble that up (down?)!

My Mom is a coffee drinker and there are hot days that I will see her drinking coffee.  Earlier this summer, I said it was too hot for coffee and then she questioned me wondering if it's ever too cold to eat ice cream.  "Never!" I declared.

Point well-taken.

This week's cookie is a cookie great for eating with/dunking in coffee.  Biscotti is the Italian version of a cookie.  I make biscotti every Christmas and give it as gifts to friends, teachers, family, mail carrier, etc.  It is so easy to make that I sometimes feel guilty over the big deal people make over it when I give them a sample.

This biscotti is easy too, but making it came with a bit of drama.  I was half-way through mixing up the dough when a big storm hit.  I even had to run outside to bring the trash cans in before they blew away.  I no sooner came back inside, than the electricity went out.  I waited.  I waited some more.  Yet more waiting.  Oh crap.  Now what am I going to do?  I decided to go ahead and finish mixing it up.  Thank goodness I had already microwaved what I need to.  I took the paddle off my Kitchen Aide mixer and stirred it up the old-fashioned way.  Thankfully I lift weights, so it was no problem pulling this dough together.  Then I did a little more waiting.  I was relieved when, in the middle of a heated round of The Ladybug Game (Owen had more aphids than he should have.) the power came back on.  I raced to the kitchen and got the oven going.  I was back in business!  The day had been boring up to this point; it was necessary for a little excitement to take place this afternoon.

Cafe Latte Caramel Biscotti
Here's What You'll Need: (the list is long, but don't let it scare you away)
Cream Cheese Latte
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Biscotti Dough
3/4 cup caramel or butterscotch chips
1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons warm brewed espresso or strong coffee
3 to 4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Here's What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla for the "Cream Cheese Latte."  Set it aside.

Place the caramel or butterscotch chips in a small microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave long enough to melt.  If you have trouble getting the chips to melt, add about 1 Tablespoon of soft butter.

In a mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, vanilla and brewed coffee next.  Stir in most of the flour.  I started with 3 1/2 cups.  Also add the baking powder and salt.  Blend in the melted chips.  You don't want them to be completely mixed in.  You are looking for a marbling of the flavors and textures.  If at this point the dough is not stiff, go ahead and add more flour.  I had 1/2 cup more and it was good.

Divide the dough in half on two cookie sheets and pat it out into logs that measure approximately 4"x8".  Now, spoon the cream cheese mixture evenly over the two logs.  With either a knife or a finger, deeply swirl the cream cheese mixture into the dough.  At this point, you can sprinkle some more chips or some instant coffee granules.  I had full intentions of sprinkling some coffee on top but the power outage threw me off and I forgot.

Bake about 30 to 40 minutes or until set.  Remove from the over and set the cookie sheets on a cooling rack for 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.  Once cooled, take a serrated knife and cut the biscotti on the horizontal into 1/2 inch wide strips.  Once you are done.  Lay the biscotti on their cut side on the cookie sheet.  Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes.  Then flip them over and bake another 15-20 minutes.  You want to dry them and get them crisp.

Biscotti goes totally against my love for soft, warm, chewy cookies.  But I still love it.  And I love these.  They are very, very yummy...even without coffee.

A shout out to Marcy Goldman's cookbook "A Passion for Baking" in which this recipe was retrieved.  She has a new cookbook called "The Baker's Four Seasons" which doesn't come out until (sadly) April 2011.  When I found out she was working on a new cookbook, I got excited thinking I would naturally put it on my Christmas wish list, but now I'll have to go out and buy it for myself.  Maybe I'll put a Barnes and Noble gift card on my March birthday wish list!

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