This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Lenox Almond Biscotti. Thank you Gretchen of Canela & Comino for choosing this recipe!
When I think, "I'm going to bake cookies--what shall I make?" biscotti are not usually at the top of the list. But as soon as I saw these biscotti had cornmeal in them, I knew I'd like them. Maybe it's the Southern heritage on my Dad's side. I love baked goods with cornmeal!
Now, should I stay with the basic recipe or do one of the many variations? In the end, I made lemon-flavored almond biscotti, using the zest from two very small lemons plus 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. I added about 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries to one-half of the dough, and 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger to the other half.
As I was doing my usual late-night baking, I wrapped up the dough logs and put them into the refrigerator until the next day. This turned out to be a great idea, as it also made the dough much easier to handle. The next evening, I finished shaping the logs and let them warm up a bit while preheating the oven. The first baking took longer than the 15 minutes in the book -- more like 25 minutes. They spread out a fair amount. After cooling the dough for half an hour, I sliced it diagonally. Three-quarters of an inch seemed just too thick, so I went for a half-inch instead. Jim and I shared the ends of each log and agreed they were really good. (Perhaps some day I will try these as "uni-scotti." It might work to freeze the dough in a roll or log and cut into slices before baking once.)
For the first baking, I used 350 degrees on a plain bake setting. For the second one I used 325 degrees on convection bake. I came back exactly 15 minutes later and wished I'd checked on them a little earlier -- the ones from the smaller (cranberry) log were a bit too brown. The ginger ones were perfect.
They were good right out of the oven, but even better after aging for a day or two. The flavors melded and became more balanced. The lemon-ginger ones were our favorite. We could barely taste the cranberry in the other ones.
Conclusion: home-made biscotti are yummy! They will be on the cookie baking list in the future. What I'd do differently next time: reduce the sugar to 2/3 or 3/4 of the original amount. These were too sweet for our tastes. And if I'm going to divide the dough in half, I'd divide it more evenly next time. I'd definitely make the lemon-ginger again. I'd like to try cranberry-orange next time, too, using more cranberries and not chopping them up.
If you want the recipe, you can find it on page 141 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: from My Home to Yours." Or hop on over to Gretchen's blog. While you're there, check out some of her pictures and stories about Peru. And check out all the other wonderful variations from the other TWDers, too!