Only 8 more days till Christmas! :D, Holy Smokes I didn't even think it was that close. I feel as though its like a month or two away lol and still thinking I have a lot of time to spare in making more holiday treats. Hahaha look at me talking like I'm force to do this or something. I really love blogging about food and recipes I really do, but sometimes I feel I'm missing out on trying out really great recipes meaning so much to do but so little time kind of thing.However I always plug into reality and understand I have lots of time to try out more and more holiday treats in the future lol. I have noticed though since I have started this blog it has pushed me to bake a lot more since I feel I need to post more and talk about what I love to do even if its just me reading it.
So I'm going to stop beating myself up about recipes I cant squeeze in and just have fun with it. I am going to start now with this post which is about a great treat for the Christmas holidays. Its actually a Italian treat that most of you probably know about , but may of not all tried some.Its a great treat to add to give some class to your holiday tray on Christmas eve or Christmas day and pair so well eaten with coffee. I would said its a dunking sort of cookie and probably suits hot chocolate as well if your not a coffee liker like me lol.
So if you want I"ll tell you my explanation of what I did in this recipe. So stay tune!......
For me I started out making my own roasted almonds :). I simply put some unsalted raw whole almonds on a ungreased cookie sheet and threw them in the oven till they were browned/golden. I let them cool for a few minutes and had a really easy time chopping them finely compare to raw almonds( Need a mallet for that lol).You can buy roasted almonds if you don't have the time, but this is a great way to use up the rest of that package of whole almond that you just haven't found a use for yet( thats what happen to me). Yay!I found a use for them now!:D
With any basic cookie recipe you will know it mostly starts with beating that butter and sugar together, right? lol. However sometimes you might figure out very soon that the butter isn't soft enough, uh oh!. What a pain that is for anyone and Ive had that countless times where I'm in too much of a hurry to get things done. I slightly learned my lesson this time because what I did was I cut the butter in pieces and let them sit in the bowl to warm up while I chopped the rest of the almonds. Smart idea for someone that always forgets.Well it sort of worked; however I did have some sticking around going on with those mixers lol ( so cheesy).
Once I beat the heck out of that butter till it was creamy it was now for the dry to be added. That was simple enough with just measuring and adding, plus you can add any coffee crystal brands you want. ( I chose nescafe).Once that was combined it was the eggs, cocoa and flour to be added to the mixture.Beating in the eggs was fine and don't be alarmed with the brown specks in the mixture that is just the coffee crystals.
For this recipe it didn't say to sift the cocoa into the mixture, but I made sure I did just to avoid clumps( no one wants unsweetened cocoa clumps in there brocotti). So once I added the cocoa and flour to beat I was surprised how much control and strength you needed to cream those ingredients together since it gets stiffer as you gradually add more.Plus once I was done that I had to add the remaining flour that couldn't be beat with a mixer by using a wooden spoon. I used that for like a few minutes and then chose to just get my hands in the dough and mix it myself( you need hands on skills lol :P). I did the same adding the chopped almonds and dried cranberries.Those cranberries give a great sweetness and color to these mocha biscotti.
I then slowly molded it into a ball and tried to keep the nuts and fruit with in the dough as much as I could.If to many cranberries are poking out the surface try to insert them back in as much as possible because when there baked and sliced they will break off slightly leaving tares.I had this happen to a few thinner brocotti pieces, but they are all delicious anyways.
I proceeded to cut the dough in half and rolled each in about 8 inch length, if longer that's perfectly fine. You end up with more brocotti in the end anyways lol :P. I then placed them on a nonstick cookie sheet or a greased cookie sheet can be used as well.I flatten each loaves with the palm of my hand and mostly biscotti are pretty thick but I made mine a little thinner by a little bit.It was now to bake them and actually the time was spot on for these loaves to be done and I then had to leave them for hour to cool (1 1/2 hours, probably would of been the best for complete cool).
I proceeded to cut the slices and baked them on the nonstick pan. The baking time was actually spot on since the cookies need to be dry and crisp. I let the cookie rest and cool on a wire rack and then it came to the fun part of the brocotti adventure, drizzling chocolate :P
I love doing patterns on cookies even when its just simply adding a little chocolate especially with the contrasts to white and dark chocolate, however it can get a little messy with drizzling chocolate so I thought to put a large plate under the rack to catch any mess. Plus all the melted chocolate I can eat that falls through the cracks from my creativity lol. Just this simple add of white and dark chocolate bring such a fancy side to these brocotti, I really love it. It really fits well for the Christmas season :D.
Now for the explanation of taste. Well the first biscotti I ever tasted was the first one I ever made in cooking class and I would have to say that put me off ever trying one again lol. Don't get me wrong we did the recipe spot on just I guess we didn't like the flavors or the texture lol. However this time I pulled up my big girl pants lol and got in there a tried a piece.
For me I right away tasted the strong flavor of almond which I do like along with a hint of cocoa/ cinnamon flavor. Then trickling down at the end was the sweetness of fruit and the drizzled chocolate. Its not terribly sweet and not really bland either. Brocotti great as a cookie for dunking in your coffee or hot chocolate. It's great for the Christmas season and you can do some many flavors for any time of the season. Next time I feel like making a marbled brocotti just way more work then just this one lol
Well I sure have rambled on about this recipe for a long while but I thought I had to get it all out because if I didn't I probably regret leaving something out.
Mocha Cranberry Biscotti(Adapted From Mocha Biscotti,Christmas Cookies, Better Homes And Garden Magazine 1994)
1/2 cup butter,softened(Room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp nescafe instant coffee crystals
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder,sifted
1/2 cup toasted almonds, toasted
1/2 cup dried Cranberries
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp shortening
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp shortening
1. Take about a little more then handful of whole almonds, sprinkle then out on a ungreased cookie sheet. Bake them in 350 F oven till browned. Once browned, chop them finely with a large knife( Its not difficult the roasting makes its easy)
2.Beat butter in a large bowl to medium to low speed till creamy(Cutting butter in pieces helps with creaming)
3. Add sugar, Nescafe coffee crystals, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, beat till combined.( You can use any instant coffee crystal you have)
4.Beat in eggs till combined. Beat in sifted cocoa and try to add as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.
5 Add the remaining flour by stirring with a wooden spoon( This is where you need some arm strength).
6.Stir in finely chopped almonds till it looks as though there evenly spread within the dough ( Using my hands helps with this better then a wooden spoon)
7. Chop cranberries finely and add to the dough.Use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix.
8.Shape into a large ball and cut with a large knife( This helps evenly divide in two)
9. Lightly flour your work surface. Shape each ball into a 8 inch roll. Place each roll 5 inches apart on a nonstick baking sheet ( can use a lightly greased cookie sheet).
10.Then flattened slightly with palm of hand to thickness you desire( Biscotti loaf are mostly thick, but I made my slight thinner)
11.Bake at 375F oven for 25 minutes till firm and toothpick come clean.Cool both loaves on the cookie sheet for 1 hour or till completely cool.
12.Place both loafs on a cutting board. Using a bread knife to cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices ( I made my thinner for more)
13.Lay each slice cut side down on non stick cookie sheet(or greased cookie sheet).
14.Bake at 325F oven for 8 minutes, and then turn each slice over to evenly bake for 12 minutes.When dry and crisp is when they are in perfect condition.
15.Cool on a wire rack. Drizzle with chocolate( place a large plate under rack to catch the dripping chocolate).Place in fridge till chocolate is harden.
1. Microwave semisweet chocolate chips and shortening for 30 sec -1 minute till melted and smooth. If it drizzles off a fork its at the right consistency
2.Microwave white chocolate chips and shortening for 30 sec -1 minute till melted and smooth. If it drizzles off a fork its at the right consistency.
3. Drizzle anyway you want into the biscotti.