Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Vanilla Biscotti

When the weather is cold and dreary, a steaming cup of hot tea (preferably Lady Gray from Twinning) with something to dip into it is a real treat. While baking for Christmas gifts, I found this wonderful biscotti recipe. It's from my favorite company, King Arthur Flour. And it's easy, reasonably quick for biscotti, not extremely crunchy and has lots of possibilities for variations. Be sure to store it in an airtight container. I plan to keep it on hand this winter!

I added almond extract to the recipe then divided it in half after mixing. I added toasted sliced almonds to half of the batter and dried cherries to the other. When it was out of the oven for the final time, I drizzled the cherry half with melted dark chocolate chips. You could dip the bottom of each biscotti in melted chocolate, if you wish.  Use your imagination for the add-ins...up to 1 cup of nuts or dried fruit. Try various spices, etc. This is a versatile recipe that just might become a favorite!

Vanilla Biscotti
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease biscotti pan or baking sheet.

Beat butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and baking powder with electric mixer until mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled. Add flour using low speed of mixer, stirring until smooth; dough will be sticky.

Scoop dough into prepared pan, shaping it into a rough log, mounding in the center.  (I used a wet spatula and my wet hands to smooth the surface of the log.)  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool on the pan for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan to a cutting board, spray with room temperature water (I used a small spray bottle for this.) Lightly, but thoroughly spritz the log,  making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Wait 5 minutes before slicing (with a serrated knife). Softening the crust with water will make slicing easier.
Cut slices about 1/2 to 3/4-inches thick.

Reduce oven temp to 325. Stand the biscotti up on an ungreased baking pan. Return to oven and bake for 25 or 30 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden brown. They'll still feel a tiny bit moist in the center, if you break one in half; but they'll continue to dry out as they cool. Remove the biscotti from the oven and cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, store in an airtight container. Yield: approx 18.

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