A few days ago I sent out my package for the first round of Secret Baker! When I first started thinking about what to include in the package, biscotti came to mind. I knew they'd ship well and would probably be just as tasty when they arrived at their destination on day 4 or 5 as they were the first day I made them. I had a few varieties in mind, but when I found out who I'd be baking for, none of my ideas were appropriate. I started flipping through cookbooks and came upon these spiced biscotti in Baking Illustrated. Perfect! Our theme for the first round of Secret Baker was fall and warm spices definitely shout fall to me!
There was an interesting discussion in Baking Illustrated about the quantity and type of fat used in biscotti and its effect on the taste, texture and shelf life of the biscotti. The book includes recipes that use eggs as the only fat as well as a recipe that calls for both butter and eggs. Someday I hope to have time to make them all at the same time & compare to see if I can pick out the differences! The recipe I chose for spiced biscotti used no butter at all - just eggs and additional egg yolks. According to the discussion, biscotti made without butter are tasty and crisp even after a week while those which included butter lost their flavor and crunch quickly as the butter baked into them went stale.
I tried a small nibble of one of the end pieces and while I'm not a huge fan of biscotti's generally crunchy texture, I did enjoy the flavor of these. I only hope my Secret Bakee likes them too! :)
from Baking Illustrated, by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated
2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices together in medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk sugar and eggs (including additional yolks) to a light lemon color then add the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until the dough is just combined.
Halve the dough and turn each half onto the prepared baking sheet. Using floured hands, quickly stretch each portion of dough into a rough 13 x 2-inch log, placing them about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Pat each dough shape to smooth it. Bake, turning pan once, until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes.
Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack and cool the loaves for 10 minutes; lower oven temperature to 325 F. Transfer the loaves onto a cutting board and cut each loaf diagonally into 3/8-inch slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices flat, about 1/2 inch apart, on the cookie sheet and return them to the oven. Bake, turning over each cookie halfway through baking, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer biscotti to wire rack and cool completely.