Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Very Vanilla Biscotti
Biscotti is one of those cookies that I like the idea of but then am disappointed when I have one. Maybe it's because I don't drink coffee or tea and these cookies beg to be dipped in to a steaming mug of something yummy. I've made biscotti once before and it turned out okay, but I wanted to try my hand again. This vanilla biscotti is really yummy. Crunchy and full of flavor from 3 vanilla beans infusing the sugar with an intense yum. Everyone who tried these crisp cookies enjoyed them, so I think I might keep trying this whole biscotti thing. Particularly if they keep turning out this good.
This recipe is one of two flavors I decided to make recently. I'd pulled out my King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion and decided to make an Italian-style biscotti, meaning no butter.The result is a crisp biscotti focusing on the flavor, which in this case was three vanilla beans infusing the sugar with all kinds of goodness. My beans weren't exactly the most fresh, so I compensated by increasing the amount, which I think gave the intended result. I love seeing the little flecks of vanilla bean throughout the dough and the cookie. I didn't cut my cookies on the bias, which is the true shape of biscotti, bit you can feel free to cut them however you like. I did use a biscotti pan to shape my cookie loaf, but you can certainly free-form your dough on a cookie sheet for your first baking. Of course, if I'm going to make vanilla, I might as well go for chocolate, so stay tuned for a chocolate version of American biscotti and enjoy them both!
Very Vanilla Biscotti
2/3 cup sugar
3 vanilla beans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
Cut vanilla beans into one inch pieces and place in a small food process or spice grinder. Add sugar and grind until beans are fine and sugar is fragrant with vanilla.
In a medium bowl with a hand held mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs, then add sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract, continuing to beat until creamy.
Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour, mixing only until just incorporated.
Transfer dough to a greased biscotti pan or shape into a rough loaf of 14 inches by 2 1/2 inches and about 3/4 inch thick on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. Use wet fingers or a wet dough scraper to smooth the top of the loaf.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in or on the pan for 5-25 minutes.
About 5 minutes before ready to cut, lightly spray the loaf with water, coating the top and sides to aid in smooth cuts.
Holding a knife straight up and down, cut loaf into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices, taking care to keep an even width from top of bottom.
Arrange biscotti upright on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, until firm.
Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container (or to make slightly more firm, store uncovered overnight to dry).
Makes 1 1/2 dozen biscotti.
The Cookie Princess
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