My less-baking-until-Thanksgiving goal is getting annoying. The deal was that for most of November, I would only bake biscotti for Dave, 100% whole wheat bread, and any recipes that were required for my blog. Well, I finished baking November’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipes last week, and my freezer is stocked with whole wheat bagels, pizza dough, and baguettes.
So I’ve made a lot of biscotti for Dave this month. It’s been my way to cheat. I’ve been making half batches, not only because that way I get to make more again sooner, but I was a little uncertain about this recipe.
The original version didn’t have any butter in it. I’ve made biscotti without fat before, and they were some of the worst biscotti I’ve had. The texture was not crunchy or crisp, but nearly crystalline. In this case, I guess I was hoping that the pumpkin would somehow make up for the lack of fat.
It didn’t, and the first batch of these biscotti weren’t great. I added a few tablespoons of butter to the second batch (less than half of what a regular cookie recipe has), and the texture was what Dave and I prefer in our biscotti – crunchy but not teeth-breakingly so. But there was some metallic background taste that Dave and I couldn’t identify, which made our tongues tingle unpleasantly after a bite.
What in the world was that? My guess was that there was too much baking powder, but the amount I used seemed on par with other biscotti recipes. So I tried one more time, this time making two half-batches of dough, one with half the amount of baking powder, one with the same amount.
Well, I don’t know what was wrong with that second batch. Maybe I accidentally doubled the baking powder, because when I divided the amount in half, the biscotti didn’t rise correctly. It tasted good and the texture was fine, but it didn’t dome in the middle to make pretty shapes. The half-batch with the full amount of biscotti was perfect – crunchy, smooth and domed, and no metallic taste.
Which means I have no more excuses to experiment. I have half a carton of cranberries in my fridge, and I’m just about out of scones stored in my freezer, so I’m itching to make cranberry scones. And I have a friend with a birthday soon, and I want to send treats. But that’s breaking the rules, I suppose. Two more weeks until I get to bake again.
It’s cheating to let myself bake as long as it isn’t desserts for myself, right? Right?
One year ago: Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
2½ cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Give it a rough stir to generally incorporate the ingredients, the dough will be crumbly.
3. Flour your hands and a clean kitchen surface and lightly knead the dough. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Form the dough into a large log, roughly about 15-20 inches by 6-7 inches. The loaves should be relatively flat, only about ½ inch high. Bake for 22-30 minutes at 350ºF, until the center is firm to the touch. (Feel free to also form two smaller logs for cute two-bite biscotti; just cut the baking time to 18-24 minutes.)
4. Let biscotti cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife cut into 1 inch wide pieces. Turn the oven to 300ºF and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.