Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beginner Biscotti

3 months into my residence in Italy and I thought it was time to tackle one of my food-related ambitions. If you don't recall, I want to master homemade tomato sauce, drink espresso like an Italian (no milk), and learn how to make biscotti. (For the record, I have tried the espresso and was not a fan on attempt 1, 2, or 3. I decided un cafe macchiato- espresso with a splash of milk- is more my taste). But I'm getting off track...

If you've followed this blog for a while, then you know that baking anything scares me. I can screw up a Betty Crocker cookie mix (which only calls for ONE additional ingredient besides the mix, by the way). But I figure there is no better time to experiment than now, when I have time and willing taste-testers (hence the chocolate zucchini brownies). As irony would have it, my new sister-in-law is a pastry chef(!) so she swiftly sent me a recipe for biscotti. To be honest, as soon as I saw the words "attach paddle blades to mixer" I was intimidated, so instead we'll be attempting that one via skype supervision. Then, I stumbled upon a super simple biscotti recipe in my Newlywed Cookbook by Robin Miller (I highly recommend it for simple classic recipes). This one required all familiar ingredients, and no foreign appliances! Bring on the Peanut Butter Biscotti :)

Peanut Biscotti (by Robin Miller)

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter (I used smooth, and added some nuts)
1 tsp vanilla extract
non-stick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and egg whites. Whisk in peanut butter and vanilla (I found a fork was helpful!) Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix until a manageable dough forms
4. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and shape into a 10-inch log (eyeball cutting board has inch measurements). Place log on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray.
5. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 300.
7. Allow log to cool for a few minutes (enough to handle) and cut crosswise into 18 slices and arrange slices on baking sheet.

8. Bake 20 more minutes, turning once, until golden. Cool until crisp.

OK..I think I'm ready for intermediate biscotti :)

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