Monday, November 12, 2007

Let's Bake a Deal!

Daunted by the complexity of my holiday baking spreadsheet, I decided to take a couple days' vacation this week in order to tackle a bit of advance baking as well as to catch up on my regular cooking.

Having tucked three batches of cookies into the freezer over the past two weeks, I thought it was time to switch over to a cookie that would keep well without freezing or refrigeration: biscotti.

For the past few years, after experimenting with several varieties of biscotti, I've kept my holiday quota to two recipes: cranberry-orange and ginger-pecan. This year, in my attempt to use more local products in my holiday baking, I'm dropping the cranberry-orange in favor of something using the cherries I dried early this summer. But the ginger-pecan, despite featuring two non-local flavors, stays in the repertoire because it's my favorite.

I'm happy to report, though, that aside from the ginger and the pecans, I could use several other local ingredients: oats, flour, butter, and eggs. Admittedly, that doesn't sound like a lot out of a long list of ingredients, but as these four items make up a large portion of the dough, it's probably better than it sounds.

I mixed the dough and shaped it into two flat "logs," giving them each plenty of room to spread as they baked, and I slid the pan into the oven for the first baking.

When the biscotti loaves came out of the oven after the first baking, I needed to run out for a bit, so I set the pan on the stovetop to cool. The recipe calls for 20 minutes of cooling before the second baking, but I think they got over an hour this time around, which seemed to make them easier to slice for that second round. (I'll have to remember that for next time.)

When I returned home, though, I fired up the oven once more and finished baking the biscotti, now cut in long slender wedges.

Aside from the crumbs (which I always claim as the reward for my labors), I packed all of the cooled biscotti in my cookie jar and an extra tin. I'll save these morsels for the round of packages I'll send out in early December, and I hope to save a few for friends to enjoy closer to Christmas. And if none last that long, well, I'll just have to make more.

And I think my friends would agree... that's a pretty good deal for us all.


At 11/17/2007 8:18 AM, Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Biscott is a great idea right now. I'll have to remind my wife that we should be making some. She makes a great biscotti with hazelnuts.

At 11/17/2007 1:51 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

And I love hazelnuts! I'm just not sure I'll be working any into biscotti this year as I don't buy them often... and struck out in finding any local ones this year.

Hope you can persuade her! She sounds like a great baker!


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