Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gingerbread Biscotti... No, it's not too early

When I first saw the recipe for 'Gingerbread Biscotti', I had seriously misgivings. I knew these biscotti were going to be unbelievable: crunchy and packed with pecans, raisins, and oats. But, wasn't it too early in the season for gingerbread?

Fortunately for us all, it is never too early for deliciousness: not too sweet, perfect in the morning with coffee, in the afternoon for a pick-me-up, and at night to end the evening (and, yes, this is based on experience).

The only thing to have misgivings about is the rate at which they are disappearing.

Remember, the key with biscotti is that you bake them twice; that is how they get their gorgeous crunch. But, one thing that makes the texture even better is the incorporation of both ground up and whole oats. So, start by adding half the oats to your food processor.
And whaz those up.
Next, in a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: ground oats, whole oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and the spices.
In a separate bowl goes a key gingerbread ingredient: molasses, along with eggs and oil.
Whisk that up.
Slowly add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients, at a low speed.
Mix until incorporated. Mine dough was a tough crumble, but not difficult to work into cohesion.
Now, add in some raisins and toasted pecans.
How exciting does this look?
Get the dough on a lightly floured surface, and cut into two.
Roll out each half into a 12 inch log with a rolling pin.
Get those on a baking sheet, for round of baking #1.
After 30 minutes they should be firm and golden. Then remove them from the oven, and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Then, use a serrated knife and cut the logs into 3/4 inch pieces. Cutting on the diagonal makes them look great.
Then, return to the oven for round of baking #2. Bake them for 6 minutes, cut side down. Then flip them, and bake them another 6-8 minutes. They are done when they feel dry and firm.
Remove to a wire rack, and let cool.
Enjoy at any time of the day, with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe
3/4 cup pecans (or hazelnuts or walnuts), toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
2 Tablespoons safflower oil*
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark or golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

To toast nuts: place in a dry skillet over medium low heat, shaking the pan constantly, toast for 5-6 minutes, until fragrant.**

In a food processor, process 1/2 cup of the rolled oats until finely ground.

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of finely ground oats, the remaining oats, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, molasses, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed. Mix in the nuts and raisins, beat until just incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide the dough in half. Take each half of dough and form it into a log, about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide.*** Bake about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300. Transfer the logs to a cutting board and cut into 3/4 inch slides, on the diagonal.**** Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 6-8 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 6-8 minutes or until dry and firm. Remove from oven and let cool. Can be store in an airtight container for several weeks.*****

*The recipe called for light olive oil or corn oil, but safflower or vegetable oil are fine
**The recipe has you toast the nuts in the oven, but I prefer the stovetop method for toasting.
***A rolling pin is helpful for this. I tried to flatten them on the baking sheet, and it didn't work particularly well.
****I like to use a serrated knife for this, and don't worry if they crumble a little bit.
*****These biscotti are delicious on their own, but a light lemon glaze could be a lovely addition. Next time...

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