Monday, January 9, 2012

Orange Almond Biscotti

I wanna talk secret identities with you.  You know, like superheroes and stuff.  When I was a kid, I sometimes thought about how awesome it would be to live a normal life by day, returning to my superhero lair-located under the sea in a giant anemone and accessible only by submarine, obviously- at night. I'd squeeze into a colorful bodysuit (preferably made from the shiniest pleather available) complete with matching cape and face mask.  I'd practice my catch phrase in front of the mirror a little bit.  It would probably be something like "You better believe it!" or "LUCY SMASH!" Then I would fight some serious crime. 

I sometimes still think about this, actually.

The life of a superhero would be hard.  You probably wouldn't get very much sleep.  I'm sort of afraid of the dark, to be perfectly honest.  A superhero would have to have nerves of steel.  You don't just go walking around in an abandoned tire factory at night knowing full well that some kind of villain is lurking around unless you have nerves of steel.  You could trip on your cape.  After considering this, I realized that I probably wouldn't be the world's most successful superhero.  I turned my attention to cookies.

I used to think that biscotti had a secret identity.
Biscotti's secret identity was less superhero and more supervillain. Think about it.  When you want a cookie, only a cookie will do, right? Biscotti disguises itself as a cookie, but I've found that a lot of the time it's more like a really old piece of bread that makes your teeth hurt.  And what is more villainous than being forced to eat old bread when all you want is a cookie?
Today I was feeling forgiving.  I gave biscotti a second chance.  And I am so glad that I did!  This stuff is crunchy, but not so crunchy you will break your teeth.  Just the right amount of crunchy.  It's flavorful,  and it makes your kitchen smell amazingly delicious and orangey.   The chocolate-dipped half is perfect for your sugar craving- the almond, orange, and chocolate all compliment each other so excellently.  The plain half is perfect for dipping in your tea after a hard day of fighting crime.

Orange Almond Biscotti
Recipe from Baking Illustrated 
Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  

Mix 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, cream 4 tbsp softened butter and 1 cup sugar until smooth.  Beat in two eggs, adding one at a time.  Stir in 1/2-3/4 cup toasted and chopped almonds and 2 tbsp zest from an orange.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly, until everything is just mixed together.

Dividing the dough in half, shape 2 loaves on the baking sheet, about 2 in. by 13 in.  Bake until loaves turn golden-brown and start to crack.  

Remove the loaves from the oven and cool them for about 10 minutes.  While they are cooling, lower the oven's temperature to 325 degrees.  

Slice the Biscotti loaves diagonally with a serrated knife, about 1/2 inch wide.  You will end up with about 42 cookies.  Lay the slices on the baking sheet and return to the oven for about 15 minutes.  

For the chocolate coating, I just melted about 6 oz. of semisweet chocolate and half a tablespoon of butter.  Then I dipped the cooled cookies halfway into the chocolate and set them in the fridge for about 10 minutes.  

p.s. I don't have a great camera, so I usually just take my pictures with my iPhone.  This time, I used this really cool app called Toy SLR in hopes that my photos would look a little less pathetic.  What do you guys think?  I've been having a ton of fun playing around with it!

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