Friday, November 11, 2005

Holiday Cookie Baking is ON!

I've officially started my holiday cookie baking. Yay! That part is easy, the hard part is to decide which of the 150 cookies in the latest Martha Stewart Cookie Magazine is going to make it into the cookie boxes. And before I could even try any of the recipes from Martha, I had to do these biscotti's that I saw on Heidi's site, slightly revised.

Why biscotti? My mom is a big fan of biscottis and she is very particular about them" too soft, too almondy, too crunchy, too thin, too thick..." But, no complains, I like playing around with the recipes, trying to perfect them. So, here is the first batch hot of the oven!

Super Healthy Pistachio-Chocolate Biscottis

Biscottis are baked twice with a considerable amount of prep work. A rainy day or a fresh cup of cofeee in the afternoon are great reasons to spend time in the kitchen!

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temparature
zest of one orange
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup shelled pistachios
3/4 good quality semisweet chocolate chips chopped fine

Preheat your oven to 325 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Sift the whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy for two minutes (Kitchen Aid @ 6).

Add the eggs, zest, and almond extract. Mix until well combined, scaping down the sides with a spatula to make sure you get a good mix.

Add the dry ingredients to mixer and continue mixing with slow speed (Kitchen Aid @ 3) until the dough comes together. Stir in the shelled and roughly cut pistachios and chocolate chips.
Shaping the biscotti:

Wax paper comes handy for this task as the dough is pretty stiff and sticky. Get the dough on the wax paper and using a ruler as a guide, don't laugh, I like to be precise as much as I can, flatten the dough into a log shape about 4-inches wide by 12-inches long.

First Baking:

Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment and into the oven for 30-35 minutes. It will get its shape in this round and and brown a little. Take the log out from the oven on a cooling rack and reduce the oven temperature to 300F.

Let the biscotti log cool for about 10 to 15 mins so you will be able to slice it with little damage.

Use a serated knife to cut the log into 3/4-inch biscottis. I think mom likes them diagonal, so I always cut them this way but you can also do smaller straight cuts.

Second Baking:

Arrange the slices cut side up on the baking sheet and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. They might be slightly soft coming out of the oven, but will firm right up as they cool off on the counter.

For step by step instructions, check out the pictures on Flickr.

Ok, now back to cupcakes:)

Afiyet Olsun!
*Turkish for Bon Appetit!

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