Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wake n' Bake

(not my biscotti--pictures forthcoming)
Counting down to Christmas and the only big thing left to do is make all the pasta for our baskets. The other night I experimented (along with some of my ladyfriends) with biscotti-baking and it turned out beautifully! We made cranberry-almond biscotti dipped in 70% dark chocolate...sooooo good (especially in the next morning's coffee). We ended up eating quite a bit of it that night and I've already given away a lot too, so this morning I had to hop out of bed and make up another double batch before heading to work. This time I made vanilla-black walnut biscotti. I have had so much fun making it I might make another batch to freeze for Tony and I.

The Limoncello is absolutely delicious. I've already filled 7 bottles and there's still a ton of it. Here's the recipe, which I more than quadrupled:
Giada De Laurentis' Limoncello
10 lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

(Since I realized that my vodka bottles were liters and not 750s after the fact, I just did 14 lemons to the liter and 31/2 C. Sugar 41/2 C. Water for each of my batches. I get the feeling Limoncello is hard to mess up. You could even cut the sugar it's pretty darn sweet)

Giada De Laurentis' Holiday Biscotti Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
Red and green sugar crystals, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.
Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.
Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.
The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

(Since I don't like white chocolate much, I used dark chocolate instead and completely skipped the red and green sugar crystals because that's kinda goofy. I think you can tweak this recipe well to your liking, it is superb.)

Well, that's all I got. Have a lot of label-making and pasting to do. Hope you all have a happy holiday. Next post will contain finished baskets...which means a finished project. Just saying...

1 comment:

Jo & Tom said...

I certainly hope your aged parental units are the recipients of one of these baskets.