|substituted whole-wheat for all-purpose flour|
I was excited about my first ever attempt in making biscotti. What goes well with a lesisurely cup of coffee in the morning, afternoon or anytime of the day? Yes, you guessed it. I like the idea of baking a custom version to suit the taste and texture I prefer. My ideal biscotti should taste rich, and packed with nutrients; with a lighter crunch that you don’t feel compelled to dunk them in coffee to soften. I’ve often found biscotti to be as hard as a rock. With one wrong bite, they may easily break your teeth or cut into the gum in your mouth. That exasperated crunch in my noisy brain biting into rock-hard biscotti can’t be ignored. In short, I’m not interested in making dunkable biscotti. I want something softer and more delicate. Here is a chance to put my spin on a “flour.ish.en biscotti” by tweaking the ingredients and the baking process.
The original recipe came from Christina Marsigliese Scientifically Sweet. She wrote: “In the North of Italy it is very common to make biscotti with butter, like how it is common to cook with butter in place of olive oil sometimes. In the south, biscotti recipes tend to leave out any fat other than that provided by egg yolks, but these ones definitely need a good cup of Joe to soften them up.” This convinced me that I should leave butter alone in the recipe since I like my biscotti with a softer bite.
Other remaining issues I have to resolve are the refined all-purpose flour and the amount of sugar in the recipe. I’ve been able to find ways to replace all-purpose flour in most of my recipes found in this blog without compromising texture and structure of bread or pastries. Since these cookies do not need much leavening, there shouldn’t be any problem in replacing all-purpose flour with something more wholesome and softer. The list below shows the changes I’ve made to the original recipe. Please click here to see biscotti other creative bakers at ABC served up for the month of February.
- I used 200 gram of whole-wheat pastry flour and 70 gram of almond meal, or roughly 75% and 25%, respectively, of total 270 gram of all-purpose flour required in the recipe. Pastry flour has lower protein content and almond flour interferes with gluten development. Both flours contributed to the desirable tender structure I preferred. It was also an opportunity for me to use up the remaining stock of almond meal/flour from baking almond tarts and macarons during the holidays.
- I left out the whole almonds inadvertently but almond was in the dough in the form of meal/flour. It might not have been a bad idea to leave out the whole almond entirely; I don’t miss the additional crunch in the crunchy biscotti.
- Reduced the amount of sugar, using 125 gram of turbinado raw cane sugar instead of 150 gram of granulated sugar.
The word biscotti is derived from the Latin biscoctus, meaning twice baked or cooked. Patience will be rewarded in baking biscotti two times. Be sure to let the logs cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting them. But I don’t see why you can’t delay the second bake at a later time, if you so choose. One caveat: you need to cut the logs into final biscotti shape soon after the first bake before the cookies get hardened. It worked out better for me to err on the side of under-baking rather than over-baking to achieve the tender bite I was after. Days-old biscotti can be easily refreshed by reheating them in a 300°F oven.
I like what came out from the test kitchen: fantastic tasting, crunchy biscotti which was soft to the bite. Better yet, you don’t feel too guilty eating a bunch of them at a time. I would be more aggressive next time in reducing the amount of sugar to below 100 gram since I found the biscotti way too sweet. I would add one more egg (especially when you substitute whole wheat for all-purpose flour) which would bind all the ingredients together better and produce the firmer and less crumbly biscotti.
I couldn’t wait to kick back and relax – a hot cup of latte in hand with some freshly baked biscotti – and watch the Super Bowl!