Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Ginger Biscotti
I often get asked how I plan menus for the my clients. Do they request certain things? Do I have an existing list that they choose from? The truth is, no - I just bring what I feel like making and they eat it. It's a pretty ideal situation because it allows me to be creative and also indulge any cravings I might have. Those cravings can come from just something I am in the mood for, from seasonal ingredients, or from trying to recreate a flavor I enjoyed.
Last week on our vacation, Randy bought some macadamia nut and ginger biscotti at a little bakery on Kauai (macadamia nuts - as you might imagine - are everywhere in Hawaii). They were hard as rocks so I didn't have more than a bite, but it got me craving a chocolate ginger biscotti I made years ago. I love chocolate, I love ginger, and the combination here is intoxicating. These are quite crisp - they have no butter - but they have an incredibly rich taste.
A few notes about this recipe. If there is a Trader Joe's near you, buy your crystallized ginger there. It is very soft and easy to chop. I used to buy it in the bulk section of grocery stores and always found it to be stale and fibrous. Make sure to chop the hazelnuts nice and fine - it will facilitate the slicing later. This dough is very sticky, so I recommend keeping your hands moist while you work with it - either by using cooking spray or water. Finally, the recipe calls for drizzling the white chocolate over the finished cookies. I can never get white chocolate to a "drizzling" consistency so I just dunked half in the melted stuff. Can anyone help me out here? What is the white chocolate secret??
Chocolate, Hazelnut and Ginger Biscotti
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes about 25
1 2/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
6 oz. good-quality white chocolate (such as Baker's or Lindt)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift first 5 ingredients into mixing bowl. Add 3 eggs and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. nuts, and crystallized ginger (dough will be firm). Sprinkle a little cocoa powder on a work surface and either spray your hands with cooking spray, or run them under the faucet. Turn dough out onto work surface and divide in half. Form each half into a 12-inch log. Transfer logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing 3 inches apart. (DN: You can also use two separate sheets.) Flatten each to 2 1/2 inch wide log. Whisk remaining egg in small bowl to blend. Brush logs with some of the beaten egg.
Bake until logs are dry looking and firm to the touch, about 30-35 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet(s) 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Transfer logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut logs crosswise into scant 1/2 inch slices. Place slices, cut side down, on large baking sheets. Bake until firm, about 15 minutes. Transfer biscotti to racks and cool completely.
Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. (DN: If you don't have a double boiler, just place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set that over the water. Just be sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.) Remove from over water. Place biscotti on rack over baking sheet. Dip one half of each biscotti in white chocolate. (Can be made up to 2 weeks ahead. Store in an airtight container.)