Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Basic Biscotti, HTCE

It has been 4 days since I last baked... and I didn't have the patience to wait for the book (apparently it is in Ohio somewhere at a UPS shipping center.) For the last few weeks, I had been making scones from the Joy of Cooking book and often thought the taste is similar to biscotti.

So I found Mark Bittman's Basic Biscotti posted online, and began today's journey. The many recipes I've tried have yielded wide-ranging results. They can be crumbly or dense, hard as rock or slightly chewy. When dunked in tea or coffee, they can hold their shape or disintegrate.

This is a relatively low-fat recipe, with a ratio of 4 Tbsp butter to 2-1/4 cup flour. By comparison, Giada DeLaurentis's Holiday Biscotti uses about twice the butter. I only used 75% of the sugar "recommended" by the recipe.

When the wet and dry ingredients were mixed lightly, the resulting texture was pretty dry. I was going to use white chocolate chips and cranberry, but decided at the last minute to leave out the cranberry. When the texture is this dry, the dough does not always hold together well. Some reviewers said the 375 degree oven browned the underside too much, so I went with a normal 350 oven for 30 minutes.

The texture is fine-crumbed and crisp, without being too hard. Because of the lower heat, leavening power was not at its fullest. Next time, I will use 375 but reduce the time in the oven. The base flavor is nice, but since vanilla is the only flavor, it lacks depth. A bit of lemon zest will add more complexity. For the next time, I'll add dried fruits and/or nuts as well as decrease the sugar even more.


  1. These look great, Mo! I want to try one! And you're right, lemon zest does make a difference. You might want to try orange zest if you're using cranberries.

  2. Those look tasty! And I agree with Doris, I LOVE orange zest with cranberries...tangy and sweet.

  3. I thought I smelled something yummy last night. It's good to live next door to a cook!!!

  4. I love biscotti. These look delicious. Any kind of zest makes a difference.