Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gingerbread Biscotti

I love the smell of gingerbread and spice cookies.  I love the way the house fills with the warm smell of the spices and vanilla.  I always make molasses spice cookies, I love the chewy-crispy-spicy cookies and the memories of my grandma.  This year I wanted to try something different.  I wanted to keep that spicy flavor and aroma, but put a twist on it.  Enter, Gingerbread Biscotti.

These biscotti are filled with warm spices; ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and studded with pecans and dried apricots.  During the second bake, you can bake about 10 minutes and leave the centers a little soft, or bake for 15-20 minutes like I did and they are great for dunking in your coffee or tea, with out falling apart and leaving pieces in your mug.

The other nice thing about biscotti is that they are a very lean cookie, no oil and only the fat from the egg yolk.  You can enjoy two without overdoing the calorie thing...or at least that is what I'm telling myself.

Gingerbread Biscotti
The best of Fine Cooking Cookies, #23

10 oz. (about 2 1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; plus more for shaping
1-1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar 
2 tsp. ground ginger 
1-1/4 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. table salt 
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 
1/4 tsp. baking soda 
4 oz. (1 cup) pecans, coarsely chopped 
4 oz. (1/2 cup) lightly packed dried apricots, coarsely chopped 
1/4 cup molasses 
2 large eggs 
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest (from about 1 medium navel orange) 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda on medium-low speed until well blended. On low speed, briefly mix in the pecans and apricots. In a measuring cup, lightly whisk the molasses, eggs, and orange zest. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the egg mixture. Continue mixing until the dough is well blended and comes together in large, moist clumps, 1 to 2 minutes.

Dump the dough onto an unfloured work surface. Divide into two equal piles (about 1 lb. each). Shape each pile into a log that's 10 inches long and about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, lightly flouring your hands as needed (the dough is a bit sticky).
Position the logs on the lined cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Bake until the tops are cracked and spring back slightly when gently pressed, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a rack and let cool until the logs are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

Carefully peel the biscotti logs from the parchment and transfer to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, saw each log into diagonal slices 3/4 inch wide. Return the slices to the cookie sheet (no need for fresh parchment) and arrange them cut side down. It's all right if they touch because they won't spread.

Bake until the biscotti are dried to your taste, about 10 minutes (for slightly moist and chewy) to 20 minutes (for super-dry and crunchy). Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the biscotti cool completely. The biscotti will still give slightly when pressed, but will harden as they cool. When cool, store in airtight containers.

November 15, 2012   Daylight  6 hours,  13 minutes, 2 seconds     Temp. -1/-22

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