Sunday, January 15, 2012

52 weeks of baking, Week 3: White chocolate covered fruit biscotti and white chocolate banana cocoa

I've been wanting to make biscotti for some time, and this week's challenge seemed like a great excuse. I looked at a few different biscotti recipes, and took the difference of them all and decided to make my own, based of what fruits I had available and what I thought would go well with the white chocolate.

I only had just shy of an ounce of dried cranberries on hand, but I also had a secret weapon - freeze dried strawberries and bananas! BB loves the freeze dried apples that come in a big pack from Costco, but it also comes with mixed strawberries and bananas. She doesn't like strawberries for some unfathomable reason, so I decided to put them into action by adding in 2 bags (about an ounce), plus a couple of ounces of sliced almonds. I added them all in to the mix, and the flavors turned out amazing.

One thing I should note is that I doubted my intuition against the baking times on other recipes, and ended up very disappointed in what turned out, because the first bake didn't turn out as firm as I'd expected. I chalked that up to my inexperience with biscotti and ended up spending a lot more oven time on the second bake - lesson learned!

Once it was all, done, I dipped them in white chocolate, since that's the theme of the week, after all. I'd also come across a few recipes for white chocolate cocoa, and over the holidays my banana pudding white chocolate truffles had been a huge hit. So, I melted a few more white chocolate chips with what was left from the biscotti dipping, and tempered in some half and half and milk in the microwave (lazy, I know, but I didn't really want to get any more pots dirty tonight). I added in what was probably a teaspoon of banana extract, then warmed it a bit more - but not too much - and sprinkled some nilla wafer crumbs on the top.

I could have this every. single. night.

Let me tell you, this was a divine way to end a busy day of cooking and being with family. The cocoa was like a liquid dessert, and the crunchiness and fruity flavors from the biscotti I dunked in the cocoa really topped it all off.

I can go to sleep a happy girl now.

Fruit and Almond Biscotti

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 c AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 oz dried cranberries
  • 1 oz freeze-dried strawberries and bananas (I used 2 individual packs from the Costco multipack of freeze dried fruit)
  • 2 oz sliced almonds
  • 1 egg white, beaten
Preheat oven to 350.

Cream sugar, butter, and extract in a mixer. Add egg, then flour, baking powder, and salt, then fruit and nuts. Add a few teaspoons of water if necessary to cause the dough to form up.

Shape dough into a log and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg white and bake 40-50 minutes, or until center is set, and allow to cool completely.

When cool, slice into wide slices. Place on the cookie sheet again, with the slices on their sides, and bake 10 minutes at 350. Flip and bake another 10 minutes. Continue baking 5-10 minutes per side until the cookies are dry and browned. Allow to cool completely.

Eat as is, or dip in melted white chocolate.

Total prep/cook time: 2 hours, 10 minutes: 15 mins prep/mix, 45 mins first bake, 30 mins rest, 40 mins second bake
Family happiness rating: unknown (they haven't tried it), but this is a 9.5/10 on my personal scale!

See the full album here.

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