Friday, July 21, 2017

Locksmith (Chocolate Hazelnut) Biscotti by Colleen

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Last night Buddy informed me that the lock on the front door was “spinning.”  

Sure enough the mortise lock screw had come loose and the whole unit was turning when you put in your key.  The solution was embarrassingly simple (remove the plate and tighten a screw) but I didn’t know that until the locksmith showed up this morning and fixed it in literally less than a minute.  

But while I was waiting for him to arrive (three hour window) I decided to make biscotti.  As one does, when one has to be stuck in the house.  

I have used the David Lebovitz recipe a few times before, but wasn’t really happy with it - and it was a PAIN to mix together.  

So I scouted around and found a recipe that looked easier and then of course modified it to give it more flavor and crunch - hazelnuts, espresso powder, and drizzled chocolates.  You could use almonds instead of hazelnuts (which are expensive and difficult to find) and leave out the espresso powder or use almond extract for a different flavor profile (if you used almonds).  

If you do use hazelnuts, be sure to roast them first.  Put on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at about 275 degrees.  Turn into a dish towel while warm and rub the hazelnuts together to remove the skins.  If this seems annoying, buy blanched almonds.

Be sure to use bar chocolate and NOT chips for the drizzled chocolate.  White chocolate chips in particular refuse to melt smoothly.  I use Ghirardelli bars.

I did a lot of tasting along the way and the flavor is satisfyingly chocolate and the cookies are crunchy, but not too dry.


Locksmith (Chocolate Hazelnut) Biscotti

3 ½ cups flour
¾ cups Hershey’s cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt  (½ teaspoon less if using salted butter)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 bag chocolate chips (semisweet or dark)
4 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)
1 ½ cups roasted hazelnuts, skinned and coarsely chopped
four ounces white chocolate, melted
four ounces dark chocolate, melted

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.  Cream the butter with the sugar and then add eggs, one at a time and mix well.  Add the vanilla and then add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add the chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

Form four logs on floured board.  Logs should be about 2-3 inches wide, ¾ -1 inch high and about 12-13 inches long.  Use floured hands to shape logs as needed.  Put parchment on two  baking sheets and place two logs lengthwise on each sheet.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and after 5 minutes, cut diagonally about 1 inch thick pieces.  Place pieces back on parchment on their sides and bake another 10 minutes.

Let cool.  Microwave chocolates separately in large glass measuring cups.  When smooth, use a spoon to drizzle chocolates over the top of the cooled cookies using a quick back and forth motion.  Chill or allow chocolate to set.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Espresso Shortbread Cookies with Cacao Nibs from Colleen

If you use 2 cups of sugar you get a very crunchy cookie - which some people like and makes them good for dunking in a cup of coffee, or breaking up and sprinkling over ice cream. 

If you like a softer cookie, reduce the sugar to 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 cups depending on your preference. 

I’ve recently discovered that there are very strong preferences for either a crispy or soft cookie.

I was going to throw out some “over-baked” chocolate chip cookies and friend who was watching me bake said “That’s the way I LIKE them!” 

Who knew? 


Espresso Shortbread Cookies with Cacao Nibs

2 cups softened butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 teaspoons espresso powder
4 cups flour
¼ cup cacao nibs

sanding sugar (optional) and egg whites

Blend the butter and the sugar together.  Stir in the espresso powder and vanilla.  Add in flour and mix well (may need to use hands).  Add in the cacao nibs (optional).

Roll the dough into logs and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours.  Brush outside of chilled logs with egg white and roll in sanding sugar.

Slice the dough into 1/4  – ½  inch thick slices and bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until set and lightly browned at edges.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Chef Dennis's "The Best Tiramisu You Will Every Make" from Colleen

"The Best Tiramisu You Will Ever Make"

Note from B:  Thank you, Colleen, for remembering Feast Everyday when you make something yummy like this recipe.  

This is from a website called Ask Chef Dennis.

There is a LOT of exposition that I mostly ignored. I decided to go with this recipe as he cooked the eggs and I didn’t want to risk salmonella by using uncooked eggs although Ina Garten’s recipe does.

I’m not willing to live that dangerously with the tender tummies in these parts. So I cooked the egg yolks with the sugar for a full ten minutes and the sugar did not dissolve.

I was in despair, but quickly googled and others said not to worry. When I whipped in the marscapone cheese, magically the graininess disappeared.

Thank God as it was hot and I did not want to spend another 10-12 minutes stirring eggs non-stop at the hot stove.

The rest of the recipe was easy. I cooled the eggs and then whipped in the marscapone using the mixer. Then I cleaned the mixer whisks and whipped the cream and folded that in. It seemed a little loose, but it firmed up in the fridge.

I liked making it in the punch bowl as it is very pretty to serve that way. But I ended up using three layers of lady fingers and felt a little short on the cream. I would likely increase the egg yolks to 7, leave the sugar at the same level as it was plenty sweet, add in a full pound tub of marscapone and use 2 cups of whipping cream. An offset spatula/spreader makes it easy to level the cream between layers.

Before I put the first layer of lady fingers in the bowl, I put down a thin layer of cream to help anchor the cookies. I had to cut some lady fingers to fit the bowl, but that was easy. I just dipped them first and then used a sharp knife to cut them down to size. The bowl diameter increases from the base, so the next layers used more cookies. I ended up using all but about 3 of the lady fingers. I covered the bowl once I was done and didn’t sprinkle with cocoa until I served it.

I would definitely make this again as it is like a fun craft project once you get past cooking the eggs and you can make it a day ahead.