Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWD: Lenox Almond Biscotti


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.



Recipe Notes:


  • 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!
~Sandy

22 comments:

  1. Your biscotti look perfecto! And I love your photographs of them! GReat job.

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  2. thanks for the tip about freezing one log, i wouldn't have thought of that! great idea, it'll keep me from eating them all at once. :)

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  3. great to know that you can freeze fresh biscotti! i make chocolate chip biscotti but i'd love to try another flavor.

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  4. I had no idea we could freeze these... O well, keep it in mind for next time!! Your biscotti look great, I love the cup and saucer in your first picture!

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  5. I like the idea of using wet hands to shape the dough. Also, freezing half was a good idea.

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  6. Wonderful job on these. I think a savory version would match the cornmeal quite well! I am not sure I have made an oil based biscotti. I will have to try the difference.

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  7. Savoury biscotti is a wonderful idea. Something to consider for next time.

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  8. Sandy, thanks for all of the tips, very helpful as usual! I have never made biscotti but did come across a few oil-based recipes. I'm always happy to use olive oil rather than butter for health reasons, and we are positively addicted to the flavor. I'd love to see how you adapt to a savory version - do you add something in place of the sugar?
    Nancy

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  9. Beautiful, beautiful...
    Shows you're an expert in the field; do you take orders for this Christmas? LOL LOL

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  10. ok, your photos are an inspriation...and the food looks even better!! I love all the tips you share on your blog!

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  11. Love you ideas for making these savory, and you give so many great tips. I really enjoy your blog!

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  12. I also make tons of biscotti for Christmas. These look like they would be a nice addition. I LOVE that tea cup! Where did you get it?

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  13. I love the "play-doh" tip about the wet hands. My dough was so runny it was like batter and would have just slipped thru my fingers, but when I try it again (and am successful!) I plan on trying this. The cup and saucer in the first picture are simply gorgeous. Are they heirlooms or new? Can you share the mfg. and pattern names? ;)

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  14. Wow! Your biscotti came out absolutely fantastic! The tops are perfectly smooth. I'm so impressed! Mine were all lumpy and bumpy!

    I never thought of it, but a savory version of these would be awesome! Sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, anyone? ;)

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  15. ~Thanks, Peggy!

    ~Lori, Maris, Marthe: Freezing biscotti loaves after the first bake (before slicing and toasting) is a life-saver at Christmastime. I bake a bunch and keep them in the freezer, then thaw, slice, and toast as needed.

    ~Pinkstripes: Wetting your hands makes a huge difference - so much easier to form the loaves (I think, anyway).

    ~Gretchen Noelle, Kait, Nancy: Thanks! Stay tuned for more biscotti recipes in the near future: both sweet, oil-based biscotti and savory versions. :)

    ~Vibi: Thank you! Actually, I usually take orders come bake-sale time and for teacher's gifts. :)

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  16. ~Lady Baker, Leslie: Thanks so much - I'm glad you enjoy my blog and that you're finding my tips useful. Most of them are the result of learning lessons the hard way! :)

    ~Jillian, Lisa: Thank you! I'm going to take a photo of the stamp on the bottom of the cup and append it to the post so you can see who made it . . . I don't know much about china, myself. I inherited it from my husband's grandmother. :)

    ~SGCC: Thanks much! I think using wet hands to form the loaves really helps keep the tops smooth, too. Mmm - I'm on a huge sun-dried tomato kick. Actually, I've been slow-drying my grape tomatoes in the oven till they're crispy and wonderful. Maybe I'll use those! ;)

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  17. Your photos are beautiful and I love that teacup!

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  18. ~Noble Pig: Thanks so much! My little teacup is a star! I love it too - it's one of my favorites. I'll be updating my post with pics of the manufacturer's mark - apparently that means something to people in the know. :)

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  19. They look great. I have never added cornmeal to biscotti but it sounds really good. It is a great addition on a fruit crumble as well because it adds that crunch factor. I love the idea of savory biscotti. I'll have to explore that one.

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  20. Good idea about wetting your hands, I will definitely try this next time!

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  21. i think a savory version would be nice too. your biscotti look so perfect!

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  22. This recipe looks great. I'm going to try it for my next dinner party. Thank you.

    Rekaya Gibson, Author
    The Food Temptress

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