Daring Bakers – A Blast from the Past!

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In a “celebration” of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

I have not participated in the Daring Bakers for quite some time.  Honestly, I was just not fond of things that were picked to be made, I just can’t justify making something that I know I will not enjoy.  When I logged on at the beginning of the month I was trilled to see this months challenge, we were able to pick any challenge from the past.  This meant that we could make one that we really loved, one that we missed, or one that was done before we joined, so many possibilities!

At first I immediately thought I wanted to make the Chocolate Valentino, a flourless chocolate cake that I had admired for years!  It was the challenge the month before I joined, I have always wanted to make it and even added it to my Bucket List of Baking.  As I was looking for the recipe, in the Daring Bakers Archive, I happen to come across a recipe for biscotti.  This peaked my interest as I seem to be obsessed with biscotti at the present time.  As I looked further into the recipe I KNEW this is what I would make.  The recipe had one huge difference from any other biscotti recipe I had made, this one had butter in it.  From all the biscotti research I’ve done over the past while it seems that the addition of butter seems to be an ‘American Biscotti’. They apparently are less crunchy to their Italian counterparts who don’t use butter or oils. I have seen many recipes that called for butter but always skipped over them, now is my chance to try one out!

Chocolate Biscotti

Daring Bakers December 2006

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin Company, Nov 2006

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant espresso powder (I omitted this)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped almonds, blanched or unblanched
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

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3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes

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4. The mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled.

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5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until a dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

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6. Mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate

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7. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

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8. Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into 12 inch long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet.

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9. Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will spread and crack – and that’s just fine.
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10. Remove the baking sheet from working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick.
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11.  Stand the slices up on the baking sheet and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes (mine were in for about 30 minutes).
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12. Cool on a wire rack
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These biscotti were pretty good.  I was very worried that they would be more ‘cake like’ as i read about, because of the addition of the butter.  I did cook them longer than they said so I could crunch them up a bit.  The texture was quite different, they were much more like a cookie.  They didn’t have that ‘hard bite’ that I associate with a biscotti.  I also found them to be quite crumbly, especially when biting, quite messy.  Not a whole lot of flavour, but ok.  I am glad I tried them, but will probably not make them again.  I think I will stick to the traditional Italian version of biscotti.
Thanks for a great challenge, I love when a Daring Bakers Challenge makes me step outside of my comfort zone.
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