This week's Tuesdays with Dorie entry, Lenox Almond Biscotti, was one I was looking forward to. Since I make pounds and pounds of biscotti every Christmas season, I'm always open to new recipes to supplement my cache of favorites. The addition of cornmeal in this recipe intrigued me, and I was interested to know how it would manifest in the finished product.
I liked the subtle graininess it gave the biscotti, and I think I'd like it even better in a savory application. I'm envisioning an hors d'oeuvre biscotti - sundried tomato and rosemary, perhaps - with the extra texture of the cornmeal and maybe some pignolia nuts.
This is a good recipe, but to be truthful, it's not my favorite. I prefer oil-based biscotti recipes to butter-based ones. I like the way the dough handles with the addition of oil as the fat, and I think it performs better in baking and storage. This recipe, however, was easy to cut, stayed nice and moist, and had excellent flavor.
The texture of the finished biscotti was really nice - crispy more than crunchy, light enough to eat on its own but suitable for dunking. I'd make these again, and I'm definitely planning to try a few savory variations with the cornmeal-dough base.
- The dough, like all biscotti dough, was easy to put together but extremely sticky, making it a bit of a challenge to work with. Every biscotti baker probably has a favorite method for handling his or her dough. My pet foolproof method makes handling and forming the biscotti dough as easy as working with Play-Doh: simply wet hands with cold water before forming the dough into logs. Mmm-hmm. It's that simple. Don't bother greasing your hands ~ you won't need to. Forget about trying to smooth your logs of dough with spatulas; that's an exercise in frustration. Just wet your hands under the faucet, shake them lightly to remove excess water, and mold your dough with wet hands. That's it! If the dough gets tacky and starts to stick before you're satisfied with the shape of your logs, just rewet your hands. You may see the dough at the very edges of your logs start to look a bit watery; don't worry about it. Just press it in toward the body of the log so that it doesn't thin the edge, and it'll turn out just fine. This method works for me every single time, with every single biscotti recipe I've used.
- I baked both loaves but sliced and toasted only one. The other loaf I cooled, wrapped whole in waxed paper and then in foil, and then froze for fresh biscotti another day. It should keep in the freezer like this for at least a month.
- Instead of lining up the slices "marching-band-style" to be toasted, I laid them on the cut surfaces and toasted each surface (for 5 to 7 minutes). This is my standard practice for biscotti making, as I find that the toasting is more consistent and it prevents the bottom of the slices from getting too dark.
- While I made the straight-up almond version of this recipe, you can really let your imagination go wild with this one. Baking chips of any kind, chopped chocolate, spices, dried fruits and berries, extracts or oils, citrus zest . . . your flavoring options are practically limitless. I'm looking forward to trying some of the variations that other TWD bakers created!
Thanks, Gretchen of Canela & Comino, for choosing this recipe! If you'd like to see what the other TWDers came up with, check out the blogroll at Tuesdays with Dorie. If you'd like to try making these terrific biscotti yourself, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours (pp. 141-143), or here.Thanks for stopping by!