very vanilla biscotti

granolalola | very vanilla biscotti

A few mornings ago I finished off the last of our Christmas cookies. (Technically they were New Years cookies, since I didn’t get around to any baking before Christmas.) And after nibbling up every last speck of powdered sugar, I had a thought… Perhaps it was time to cut it out with all the cookie eating. Don’t get me wrong, I love cookies, sweets, sugar, all of it, but I thought perhaps I was developing a bad habit with the whole “must-have-cookies-and-coffee” (said in a Miss Piggy voice; at least that’s how it played out in my head) thing.

It surely started out innocent enough with coffee and say, a muffin. And muffins are only mildly sweet and certainly passable as a breakfast food, at least in ‘merica. But then something happened. I had this thing, called a baby, and developed this very hearty appetite. You see, I never used to be a breakfast person. It was solely black coffee to start then yogurt or granola a good 3-4 hours later. I know. Not the healthiest, but I had this terribly sensitive stomach and eating full meals tended to upset it. Perhaps it’s because I can’t burp. (I’ve tried; it’s just a gift I don’t have.) Or maybe I truly have a tiny stomach…

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But that’s all in my past life. Because that baby I had not only grew my actual, inside stomach (I’m sure of it), she grew my appetite enormously. I’m sure nursing her has 99% to do with the increased appetite, but somewhere along the way, my brain became convinced that the calories I was burning nursing should be replaced in the form of cookies. Makes sense to me. It’s wintertime, too, time for stocking up, storing & preparing for the elements (hello polar vortex!) with an extra layer of fat, er insulation.

So as I was processing all this, finishing up my coffee, I remembered biscotti(!). And how I like it so much. And hey, that it’s not too sweet and that perhaps it could be my new breakfast friend. And forget about cookies and coffee. Biscotti and coffee were practically made for each other! So that was that. I decided to make biscotti that day. And I did. And the whole batch has long since been consumed. I’m thinking chocolate for my next batch…

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But now wait just a minute. The chocolate biscotti certainly has more sugar and of course chocolate too (even more sugar). So aren’t I just back to my original conundrum of cookies and coffee?

Very Vanilla Biscotti
Recipe from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
Makes 14-16 biscotti
Baking time: 50 minutes

2 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease (line with parchment or use a Silpat) a large baking sheet.

In a mixing bowl (using paddle attachment) on medium speed, beat eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla until creamy (and similar in consistency to pancake batter). Lower mixer speed to lowest setting and gradually add in flour. Beat just until combined.

Stop mixer and use a spatula to fold in any of the remaining flour at bottom of mixing bowl. Keep folding dough on top of itself until all flour is incorporated. (You can also slightly wet your hands and fold in any remaining bits of flour at bottom of mixing bowl.)

Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet. Shape the dough (using wet hands and a dough scraper) into a log that measures about 14-inches long, 2 1/2-inches wide and about 3/4-inch thick. Smooth out the top of the log using a wet dough scraper.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool anywhere from 5-25 minutes. Five minutes before cutting, very lightly (but thoroughly), spray the log on top and on all sides, with a spray bottle filled with room temperature water. (This softens the crust just enough to make slicing the biscotti that much easier.) Allow the log to sit another five minutes after being sprayed.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Once sprayed log has sat for five minutes, carefully transfer biscotti to cutting board. Using a long, sharp knife, cut the biscotti into 1/2- to 3/4-inch slices. When slicing be sure to cut straight down. If you cut the biscotti wider at the top than at the bottom, your biscotti will topple over during baking. Do, however, make sure you slice the biscotti into diagonal strips. The more you cut at a diagonal, the longer the biscotti. Cutting the biscotti into straight up and down strips will yield much shorter biscotti.

Place cut biscotti upright (do not lay it down on its cut sides) and 1/2-inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes then remove from oven and allow to cool completely before transferring biscotti to airtight containers.

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