Tonight, I've been invited to a cookie exchange. I can't tell you how excited I am to be going! When you are a stay-at-home mom, you don't need anything else to get your kicks than merely going out and talking to other grown-ups. For this party, I created a biscotti recipe that I was really pleased with.
The biscotti were my back-up plan after a disastrous attempt at something called Orange Snowballs. After I threw those in the garbage, I had to come up with something whose ingredients I already had in my pantry. This was the first time I've attempted biscotti but they turned out really well (if I do say so myself). I have been craving biscotti recently as accompaniments to my afternoon tea so I already had biscotti on the brain. I always thought biscotti were too fussy to make. Actually, they are a little fussy with the twice baking and all, but the dough came together quickly, and I waited overnight until the second baking which minimized the fussiness.
If you've never heard of a biscotti (I mean, really now, where have you been?) it is an Italian cookie that is first baked in a log shape, then cut and baked again until dry and really crunchy. They are fabulous dunked in a cup of tea or coffee, let to soften slightly in the liquid and then crunched up. I dipped them in chocolate and put sprinkles on them just to fancy them up a little for the cookie exchange, but they are also wonderful plain.
I think the ladies at the cookie exchange are going to love these. I can't wait to see what everyone else makes. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow and share some of their recipes too!
Rum Raisin Biscotti by Joie de vivre
Yeild: about 60 biscotti
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
6 large eggs
4 tsp. rum extract
1/3 cup rum
1 1/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup boiling water
1 package of chocolate chips (optional)
sprinkles and other decorations (optional)
1. Put raisins, rum, and boiling water into a bowl. Set aside for at least 10 minutes while the raisins plump.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a large bowl.
4. In a second large bowl, whisk together the eggs and rum extract.
5. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. At this point, the dough will seem really dry and it may be easier to squish it up with your hands.
6. Drain the raisins, and add them to the dough. Squish this up well with your hands. The dough will be sticky at this point from the residual liquid in the raisins.
7. Divide the dough in two. On a parchment lined baking sheet, shape 1/2 of the dough into a log about 12 inches long, and 3 inches wide. Repeat on another parchment lined baking sheet with the other half of the dough.
8. Bake for 40 minutes, switching the places of the baking sheets (put the sheet that was on the bottom rack on the top rack and the one that was on the top rack on the bottom rack) halfway through.
9. The dough should be slightly risen, slightly browned and firm to the touch. Let the logs cool at least 30 minutes or overnight.
10. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees again.
11. Cut the logs diagonally into 1/4 inch slices.
12. Lay the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet.
13. Bake the biscotti for 16 minutes, switching the places of the pans, and flipping the cookies halfway through the baking time.
14. Remove the biscotti to a cooling rack and let cool.
15. If desired, melt the chocolate chips in a saucepan set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.
16. Paint 1/2 of the biscotti with chocolate using your rubber spatula and place on a sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle with edible glitter, nonpareils, sprinkles, etc. to decorate and let chocolate harden.
17. Place in a napkin lined basket for a beautiful presentation!