Sunday, February 12, 2006

Biscotti and Cappuccino

Still snowing... After an unusually warm January, a major snow storm pounded the Washington DC area, dumping between 8 and 20 inches of snow (reported by the Washington Post).

We had Biscotti and Cappuccino for breakfast today. Both homemade by the way! Last year I bought a Coffee & Espresso Machine for Mark, he loves it. The machine also steams milk for Cappuccino, I love it. We are big coffee drinkers. Last night I made Mark's favorite kind of Biscotti, Cinnamon Biscotti, some of them plain, some half-covered with chocolate.

Making Biscotti is easier than it sounds. The Italians use the term biscotti to refer to any type of cookie. In North America, biscotti is used to describe a long, hard, twice-baked cookie with a curved top and flat bottom. Biscotti pairs perfectly with wine or coffee. Biscotti and Vin Santo are a perfect way to end a meal, either replacing the dessert of after dessert. Coffee and Biscotti are a perfect way to start your day.
Here is my recipe:

Cinnamon Biscotti

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons stick margarine, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Parchment Paper
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lb good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine eggs, margarine, and vanilla; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 10 times. Shape dough into a 16-inch-long roll. Place roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; flatten to a 3/4-inch thickness. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over dough.

Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Remove roll from baking sheet; let cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut roll diagonally into 24 (1/2-inch) slices. Place, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; let cool completely on a wire rack.

Optional: Place chopped chocolate in a clean stainless-steel bowl set over a saucepan of very hot or gently simmering (not boiling) water. Stir frequently until melted. Dip cooled biscotti half-way in chocolate and set on parchment paper to cool and harden.

Yield: 24 biscotti


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