Coconut Biscotti

 

Coconut Biscotti

Coconut Biscotti

When you serve biscotti, you’re styling’, did you know that?  These crunchy, nutty, hard cookies are custom-made for dunking in a frothy cappuccino, or nibbling on between sips of dark, thick, espresso.  Or maybe you’re having them at the end of the day with a glass of sweet dessert wine.  If it’s wine you’re having, make it a wine from Tuscany, the reputed home of biscotti.

IMG_9141

 

A surprising fact to me is that biscotti were first developed for Lent, when all types of festive and fancy baking was curtailed. Their plain appearance is deceiving.  You may think that the cookie is plain and boring, but not so.  In going through my recipes recently, I noted that I have quite a number of recipes for biscotti, and they are all different.  The several characteristics they all share are the elongated shape, usually cut on a diagonal, the inclusion of toasted nuts, and the fact that they are twice baked, making them crisp and crunchy.

IMG_9127

The name of these cookies, when translated, breaks down to bis (twice) and cottare (to cook).  Because they are a firm, sturdy cookie they are perfect for packing and shipping to someone far from home.

IMG_9140

This recipe utilizes coconut in several forms;  toasted and finely ground in the dough, and coconut oil used for shortening in the dough; there is also coconut cream (liquid) and coconut flavoring in the glaze.  The basic cookie is not sweet, but the glaze they are dipped into adds a touch of sweetness at the end.  If you choose not to dip them into the glaze, they will still be a very enjoyable mildly sweet treat.

IMG_9146

The nuts called for in the recipe are salted macadamia nuts, chopped; however I didn’t have any so I used a combination of hazelnuts and cashews from a jar of salted nuts, and they worked just fine.

If you have never made biscotti before this could be the recipe to get you started,  especially as we approach the start of Lent.  I have never given up sweets for Lent because I can’t survive without a goodie now and then, but I do try to abstain from rich decadent desserts.   With biscotti on hand, I know I can have my “goodie” without going overboard.

IMG_9128

 

COCONUT BISCOTTI

Yield:  Makes about 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

    Coconut oil, melted, is the shortening in this recipe.

    Coconut oil, melted, is the shortening in this recipe.

  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut cream ( may use milk or cream instead)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. coconut extract
  • coarse sugar for decorating, if desired

Directions:

1.  Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350*F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Spread 1 cup coconut flakes on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 3 minutes.

Coconut flakes, toasted

Coconut flakes, toasted

Let cool completely.  Transfer to a food processor; add the granulated sugar and pulse until finely ground.

Pulse in processor with sugar.

Pulse in processor with sugar.

3.  Whisk the coconut-sugar mixture, the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave;  add to the flour mixture along with 1/3 cup water and the vanilla, and mix with a wooden spoon until a stiff dough forms.

IMG_9100

Stir in the chopped nuts and the remaining 1/2 cup coconut flakes, gently knead until the dough comes together.

IMG_9102

4.  Divide the dough in half and shape into two 9-by-2-inch logs;  place 1 log on each baking sheet.

IMG_9106

Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the logs are firm and golden, about 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300*F.

I baked them both on one sheet and they spread into each other.

I baked them both on one sheet and they spread into each other.

5.  Let the logs cool 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board.  Slice diagonally, with a serrated knife, into 3/4-inch thick pieces.

Cut on the diagonal and lay flat on baking sheet to be re-baked.

Cut on the diagonal and lay flat on baking sheet to be re-baked.

Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheets.  Bake, flipping halfway through, until just golden and centers still have a little give, 20 to 25 minutes.  (It has been my experience that over-baking can happen at this stage of the game, so I underbake a little to be cautious.)  With these cookies, I baked 8 minutes on the first side, turned them over and baked for 10 minutes more.  They were plenty crispy, and they continue to crisp up as they cool.  Cool completely on wire racks before glazing.

IMG_9112

6.  Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, coconut cream, (or milk) and coconut extract in a small bowl until smooth.  Dip the biscotti in the glaze and sprinkle with decorative sugar if desired.

To store:   Allow the glaze to harden completely before storing in an air-tight container.  Separating the layers with wax paper will keep the cookies from sticking together.  They will keep “forever”, but we always eat them up way before then 🙂

IMG_9148

 

SOURCE:   FoodNetwork Magazine

Advertisements

Mandelbrot

The Elf on the Shelf!

The Elf on the Shelf!

Before telling you about today’s cookies, I thought I would introduce you to one of our elves.  I have several of these little guys and every year I bring them out and “Hide” them on shelves and other places where they can get into mischief.  Occasionally they get moved from one spot to another so I find them in unexpected places.  They add a little fun to our Christmas preparations.

Today’s cookie recipe is for Mandelbrot.  They are crunchy cookies very similar to biscotti and so I include them in that general category of cookies.    They always contain almonds  as “mandelbrot ” is the German word for “almond bread”.

Mandelbrot

Mandelbrot

I have tried a variety of recipes for mandelbrot but I always come back to this one.  It has very few ingredients, is so easy to put together and is dependable in that the cookies never fail to come out good.  Everyone to whom I’ve given them loves them and asks for the recipe.  This is one example where simple is always better.  If you really want to dress them up a little a drizzle of dark chocolate over the top makes them especially appealing.  Biscotti-type cookies go great with a cup of coffee, and it’s OK to dunk!

MANDELBROT

YIELD:   3 1/2 — 4 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup salad oil
  • 3  eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
  • OR  1/2 teaspoon almond  flavoring
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

2.  In a large mixer bowl, mix at medium speed, the sugar, oil, and eggs until well blended and aerated .

3.  Add flour, salt and anise seeds, OR almond flavoring and continue beating until well mixed.  If  the dough becomes too stiff, stir in the remaining flour by hand.

4.  Stir in the almonds.

5.  Divide the dough in half.  With floured hands, on the prepared baking sheet, shape each half into a 12 x 3-inch loaf about 3 inches apart.

Form dough into two long loaves on lined baking sheet.

Form dough into two long loaves on lined baking sheet.

6.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until light brown.  Remove from the oven and immediately cut each loaf crosswise into 1/2 inch diagonal slices.

Slice baked loaves into diagonal slices.

Slice baked loaves into diagonal slices.

7.  Turn each slice on its side.  Return to oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, turning the slices over at the half-way point to insure even browning.

Lay slices flat and bake again, turning over once until crisp.

Lay slices flat and bake again, turning over once until crisp.

They should be crisp and toasted, pleasantly crunchy, but not too hard.  Adjust baking time to your liking.

Mandelbrot. a welcome gift.

Mandelbrot. a welcome gift.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light,  2009

Gingerbread Biscotti – Dipped in Chocolate

Chocolate-dipped gingerbread biscotti

Chocolate-dipped gingerbread biscotti

Biscotti, those twice-baked Italian cookies, have been on my must-make-for-Christmas-list for the past few years.  The Holidays wouldn’t be the same without them.  I have made a variety of flavors over the years, some of them we really loved, others were just so-so.  Some kind of biscotti always ends up in the cookie-gifts I put together for friends and family.  This particular recipe is one of our very favorites, and becomes a favorite of everyone who has it.  I either get asked for the recipe, or “are you making those spicy biscotti cookies this year?”  The answer is Yes, Yes,Yes.

These cookies are just great as a light dessert,  with a cup of coffee,  on a dessert buffet, or for a cookie swap.   I can’t imagine anytime when they wouldn’t be welcome, and not just for the Holidays.  They can be made and enjoyed any time of the year.  Dipping them in chocolate may be omitted, but the combination of gingerbread and chocolate is so good and a little decadent!   I’ve even gone so far as to sprinkle the chocolate end with finely ground nuts or decorative sugar while the chocolate is still moist.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED GINGERBREAD BISCOTTI

YIELD:   Makes about 2 1/2 dozen biscotti

INGREDIENTS

Molasses, spices and ginger are the essentials for these cookies.

Molasses, spices and ginger are the essentials for these cookies.

  • 3/4 cup crystalized ginger, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup light molasses
  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup ( 4 ounces ) chopped bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

1.    In a large bowl, whisk together the the spices and the sugars.  Sift in the flour and baking powder, and whisk to blend well.

2.    In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter until light and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the molasses, until the mixture is smooth.

3.    Add the flour/spice mixture and mix to blend.  Add in the chopped ginger.  The dough will be thick and slightly sticky.  You may need to stir in the last of the flour and the ginger.

Cover the dough and chill for at least as hour.

Cover the dough and chill for 2 – 3 hours.

4.   Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in wax paper or plastic wrap, and chill for 2 to 3 hours.  (When tightly sealed, the dough will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)

5.   Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper, set aside.

6.   With lightly floured hands, shape each portion of dough into a loaf about 1/2 inch thick, 2 inches wide, and 12 to 14 inches long.

Shape the dough into two long loaves with your hands.

Shape the dough into two long loaves with your hands.

Place the loaves on the prepared sheet at least 2 inches apart.   Bake until the loaves are completely set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean—-about 25 minutes.    Do not turn off the oven.

IMG_2053

7.    Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the loaves cool on the sheet for 5 minutes.  With a serrated knife, firmly cut each loaf on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Cut each loaf crowd-wise into slices.

Cut each loaf crowd-wise into slices.

Place the slices upright on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or longer if you like a crisper cookie.   Remove the biscotti from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

8.    Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over boiling water or in the micro-wave.  Dip one end of each cookie into the chocolate, and using a knife or spatula, smooth as needed.  Do not dip more than half of each cookie.  Set the cookies upright on a wire rack until the chocolate has set.

After dipping stand the cookies upright to allow the chocolate to firm up.

After dipping stand the cookies upright to allow the chocolate to firm up.

Cookies may be stored in an airtight container, separated by wax or parchment paper between the layers.

Biscotti are always good with coffee or a glass of wine.

Biscotti are always good with coffee or a glass of wine.

Nutrition summary:  per cookie:  135 calories, 4 g. fat, 1 g. fiber, 21 mg. cholesterol, 33 mg sodium.

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart,  Gifts From Your Kitchen