Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Holiday Cookies

I love holiday cookies.. mostly because I LOVE to bake, but I do not want to be eating whatever I bake for myself, like I do the rest of the year (and notably have gained some notable weight this year). Last year I made lime meltaways, which went over great at a cookie exchange, and the year before, Georgia and I slaved over tons of butter and gingerbread cookies. On a whim the other day, I tried the Lenox Biscotti from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours and they were AWESOME. (Other cookies pictured are lime meltaways, salt and pepper cocoa shortbread, and obviously rice krispie treats)

I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing these were. Usually I am not a biscotti fan - something about its dry texture turns me off - even with a cup of coffee. These, however, are a little softer, and the 1/2 cup of cornmeal in them gives the soft texture a fun crunch. Amazing - truly - I got tons of compliments on these.

And, as an extra endorsement, I'll say that I've made this recipe three times in the last week. That's how incredible they are. INCREDIBLE. I added orange zest to mine, in addition to a little squeezed orange juice.

Lenox Almond Biscotti
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From my Home to Yours

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
zest of 1 orange (or other citrus fruit)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sliced almonds, blanched or unblanched

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the cornmeal and whisk again to blend.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and orange zest together at medium speed for 3 minutes, until very smooth. Add the eggs and continue to beat, scraping down the bowl as needed, for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light, smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You'll have a soft, stick-to-your-fingers dough that will ball up around the paddle or beaters. Scrape down the paddle and bowl, toss in the almonds and mix just to blend.

Scrape half the dough onto one side of the baking sheet. Using your fingers and a rubber spatula or scraper, work the dough into a log about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. The log will be more rectangular than domed, and bumpy, rough and uneven. Form a second log with the remaining dough on the other side of the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes (I needed more like 17-18), or until the logs are lightly golden but still soft and springy to the touch. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and cool the logs on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.

If you turned off the oven, bring it back up to 350 degrees F.

Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the logs to a cutting board and, with a long serrated knife, trim the ends and cut the logs into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet — this time standing them up like a marching band — and slide the sheet back into the oven.

Bake the biscotti for another 15 minutes, or until they are golden and firm. Transfer them to racks and cool to room temperature.


Anonymous said...

I dislike biscotti, but whatever the hell a lime meltaway is sounds really good.

Randi said...

stef - i don't like biscotti either, these were mostly chewy though. nom.

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