Tag Archives: baking

biscotti recipe

Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti Recipe

biscotti recipe

A great, foolproof Biscotti recipe is something that every baker (even the weekend-warrior type) should have in his or her arsenal. Like a little black dress, crunchy biscotti is an ideal treat that carries from day to night, as perfect with your latte during your morning commute as with your after-dinner herbal tea.

Biscotti are a quintessential Italian cookie that’s also known as cantuccini - coffee bread – aptly called since it’s usually presented alongside a steaming cup of coffee. The traditional shape is a thin and long, with rounded ends. The actually meaning of the word biscotti comes from the Latin word biscoctus, which means, “twice baked”, and which pretty much describes how this treat is made. The double baking renders the biscuit dry and crumbly, giving it a longer shelf life than other baked goods, and making it ideal to carry on long trips, for mailing as holiday gifts, or for storing.

biscotti recipe

The basic recipe for Italian biscotti is simple and straightforward – flour, eggs, salt and sugar – but the American version also adds butter and baking powder, for a moister and more airy texture. It’s the perfect canvas for culinary creativity – you can use your imagination (and your favorite ingredients) and make savory biscotti with cheese and herbs, or sweet with chocolate or sour with cranberries or cherries…there are no limitations…but there are some rules.

The trick to a great biscotti is making sure that you get the texture just right, crunchy but not tooth-breaking hard, and crumbly enough to be enjoyable without disintegrating in your hands. And that means paying attention during the baking process to make sure you don’t overcook the dough – which will turn the biscotti rock-hard. The biscotti dough itself is pretty wet – thanks to the butter and eggs – and that great moisture will turn your biscuits light, so you don’t want to dry them out completely.

biscotti recipe

We like our biscotti like we like our latte – grande! Our walnut biscotti recipe is simple and easy, and turns out some deliciously crunchy biscotti with just enough sweetness. To amp up the wow factor, we dipped them in tempered chocolate for a “corner bakery look” and incredible flavor. Plain biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks (note that they will turn harder as days pass). If you choose to dip them in chocolate like we did, they will last a 3-4 days.

Need some ingredients? Go shopping! Check out our great selection of biscotti ingredients in our Baking and Pastry section.

Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti

Rating: 51

Yield: About 2 dozen

Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. In a different bowl, cream the butter with the sugar using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer. Add the eggs one by one, beating to incorporate one before you add the next. Add the vanilla extract and slowly incorporate the sifted flour mix until the dough is stiff. Stir in the walnuts.
  4. With floured hands, divide the dough into two equal pieces, and shape each into loaves of about 10 x 4 inches, and about ¾-1 inch tall.
  5. Transfer both dough pieces onto a baking sheet lines with parchment paper, spaced apart (as they will grow).
  6. Bake until just golden, no more than 30 minutes and remove from the oven. Cool until just warm. Using a serrated knife, cut crosswise with into ½-inch strips.
  7. Transfer to a freshly lined baking sheet, and continue to bake for another 12 minutes until crisp, turning the biscotti over halfway through.
  8. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Dip the cool biscotti into the melted tempered chocolate, about halfway through, letting excess drip off. Let cool on a rack.

how to make the perfect pie crust

How To Make The Perfect Pie Crust From Scratch

how to make the perfect pie crust

Knowing how to make sweet and savory pies and tarts is not only a must-have skill for any cook, it  can also save the day (or night). Yes, you could buy a tart shell pre-made, but why would you, when making pie crust is easy and takes only a few simple ingredients? Tarts are the perfect vehicle for seasonal ingredients, be them savory or sweet. We especially love pies during the summer months when fresh, ripe berries are in season, which inspires us to make all manner of sweet tarts.

Today, we’re giving you our secret, no-fail recipe and method for the perfect pie crust. All you need is flour, butter, salt and water, and a few tricks up your apron sleeves! Once you’ve nailed this recipe, pie-making will truly be “easy as pie”, and your dough will always come out flaky and buttery.

So, read on, take some notes, and make your most perfect pie crust ever at home tonight!

The Perfect Pie Crust Primer

How To Make the Perfect Pie Crust: Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup butter
½ tsp. salt
4 or 5 tbsps. iced water

How To Make The Perfect Pie Crust: Making The Dough

First, cut the butter into small cubes and put it in the freezer to chill - this is an important step!

Place the flour in a mound on the counter.  Make a large indentation in the center – this should look like a crater of sorts. Grab the butter from the freezer and place the cubes in the center of your “crater”.  Sprinkle ½ tsp. salt.

perfect pie crust

 

You could use a food processor or a pastry cutter for making pie crust, but we like to do it old school, with our fingers. This has the advantage of letting you get a feel for the ingredients, and adjusting as you go. With the tips of your fingers, start breaking apart the butter and mixing it with the flour, working it until you get a coarse, meal-like texture.

Form a small mound, indent the center again, and add 3 tablespoons of iced water. Form the dough ball.

perfect pie crust

 

Start forming the dough with your hands, folding from the outside in. Keep adding the rest of the chilled water (1 or 2 more tbsps.), until the dough ball comes together. Don’t knead. You want the dough to be on the softer side.

Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic film. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

How To Roll Out The Pie Crust

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. When rolling out, keep rotating (for uniformity) and sprinkling more flour to the dough (so it won’t stick). Depending on the tart pan you’re using, make sure you roll at least 2 inches more than the diameter of your pan.

The formula for perfect pie crust success: roll, rotate, sprinkle, repeat!

how to make the perfect pie crust

 

How To UNROLL The Pie Dough Into The Pan

Wrap the dough around your rolling pin, and unroll into your tart pan, previously brushed with melted butter so it won’t stick.

piecrust_3

 

Finally, press gently with your thumbs on the bottom and edges of the mold, making sure the crust makes contact with the pan.

Let at least 1 inch of dough overlap over the edge of the tart shell. Then, crimp it with your fingers, or press your rolling pin over the edge, to flatten.  Cut any excess with a knife or kitchen shears.

How To Make The Perfect Pie Crust: Final Touches

You’ll want to use your perfect pie crust right away, but resist! Chill in in the fridge for 15 minutes before using (use that time to get the oven pre-heated).

If you want to reserve the pie crust for later,  just wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze.

Perfectly finished tart! Ph: Hiroyuki Takeda

A beautiful, perfectly finished tart! Ph: Hiroyuki Takeda

Do you have a trick for making tarts and pies? Share it with us in the comments!

Gilded Champagne Toast

3 luxury gourmet treats for Valentine’s Day

This is the time of year where everywhere you look, you see red. Red hearts, red candy, red flowers! It’s almost Valentine’s Day! I love (no pun intended) Valentine’s Day, especially food-wise, since it’s an excuse for indulging in delicious chocolates, treats, special cocktails, and corny, heart-felt cards. This is a holiday almost designed for bakers to let their imagination free, to find the most luxurious, positively indulgent recipes, using the richest ingredients available.

baking pink cupcakes valentines-t

The problem is that you don’t get to see your honey for every meal of the day, so you really can’t stuff them full of chocolates and Valentine’s Day themed food for breakfast, lunch and dinner (admit it, you would if you could). So this year I designed a more minimalist approach (food-wise), divided in the meals where I WOULD have my sweetheart to myself. This basically consists of breakfast, and a late-night treat.

Easy Valentine’s Day Breakfast

If you’re not a morning person, then there’s no way that you’ll get up early to bake a fresh croissant in the morning.
The solution: pre-made (but unbaked) croissants.

Frozen French Croissants

They’re made in the French style, super flaky, buttery, and always bake beautifully. They come already shaped but raw, frozen and boxed, so just pop them in the oven, and wait for the aroma of fresh-baked pastries to wake up your honey.
I’m going with the mini croissant (1.5oz) version, just cause I think it’s cuter, and I’m serving it with some different kind of gourmet jams to go with, as well as cream cheese.

Evening Encounters

Chances are you’re having dinner at a fancy restaurant (who wants to slave over a stove on Valentine’s Day?), but you can have a surprise for later on. Some delicious Chocolate Rum Truffles (yum!), made luxurious Valrhona baking chocolate, with a super-special champagne toast with flecks of REAL gold! I’ve wanted to use these fabulous Edible Gold Sheets made with 23K gold forever, and this is just the occasion. Plus, it’s so ridiculously easy and fancy and glamorous! Present it in your most fancy serving platter or plate. Just follow the recipe below for the chocolate truffles, and the instructions for the Gilded Champagne Toast.

CHOCOLATE RUM TRUFFLESchocolate truffles

Makes around 30 truffles

Ingredients

Preparation

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, boil the cream and the honey.  Slowly, pour 1/3 of this mixture over the chocolate, mixing rapidly but gently with a spatula or wooden spoon. The hot cream will slowly melt the chocolate. Keep stirring and mixing, and gradually add the remaining cream,  until you obtain a smooth and glossy texture.  Finally, stir in softened butter and Rum, and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with film, and chill, about 2 hours, until set.

Sift cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Start rolling! Grab a small amount of the ganache (chocolate) mixture, and roll between your hands into small balls. Roll over the cocoa powder to fully cover it. Place in the cookie sheet and leave to chill in the fridge. Serve!

Gilded Champagne Toast (with real gold!)

Ingredients
1 Edible gold sheet, crumbled to flecks or dust
1 bottle chilled Rose Champagne

Preparation
Take the edible gold sheet and crumble it into small pieces or flecks
Pour the champagne into two flutes
Sprinkle gold flecks into flutes
Toast!

Gilded Champagne Toast

Happy Valentine’s Day!