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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti ~ A Tutorial

Those who know me will tell you that I despise baking. I love COOKING! Not baking. The strange thing is....I'm pretty good at it, too. I also dislike working with chocolate...a lot. It's messy, temperamental, and generally not what I like to mess around with.

However....Dear Husband announced that we were going to his families' home...for Christmas...IN TWO DAYS! With no presents. I have not even unpacked the gazillion boxes strewn about the house, and we're doing what? What to do? Of course! Food-based gifts! That involve BAKING....and CHOCOLATE. Oh BOY!  Seriously, though, I recently made some sugar cookies and was totally underwhelmed - I must have something better....something fancier...something like chocolate dipped almond biscotti!  I searched recipes to match the ingredients I had on hand, and this is how it goes....

First, like all good cooks, I get my items ready to roll....



Then, we cream the butter until it is light and fluffy...and slowly add in the sugar and vanilla extract...

The next step is to add the flour and baking powder mixture..a little at a time, with the mixer on a slow speed..

This picture shows the dough before mixing in the last of the flour...and adding in the chopped almonds...at this point you are stirring with a wooden spoon, as the dough is too firm for a mixer...the dough with all the almonds incorporated...

You then form the dough into two logs, approximately 8 to 10 inches long...for the first bake..


Then, brush them with an egg yolk beaten with water...to help form a nice, golden exterior...here mine are, ready for the first 40 minutes in the oven at 325 degrees...




After the initial 40 minutes in the oven, you let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack...like so....



Then, take a sharp knife, and cut into the traditional half-inch biscotti cookie. Bake again, at a lower temperature of 300 degrees for ten minutes on each side. Here are mine, ready for the last bake...



Finally, once they were baked and cooled, I dipped into a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted with some vegetable shortening.  The results?

It's beginning to look at lot like the holidays up in Pixie land! The point here is that elegant baked gifts need not be difficult, or take all day. They are scrumptious as well. Pretty to look at, but way better to eat!

What do you make for the holidays that looks difficult, but is actually easy?

Well a nice hot cup of coffee for dunking awaits me. Hey, I did not say I was giving them ALL away! Eat well, and be merry, my friends. Love and kindness to all,

                                                                     Pixie

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