Monday, June 27, 2011

Orange Biscotti - And A Mail To God

Dear God,
I hope you know me. You must, as I am one of those people who call out to you ever so often, albeit in different contexts. As in 'Goddddhhh!!! This tastes so...gooood!!!!'' and sometimes 'GAWD!!!! Did this have to happen NOW?? - when there is a power cut when I am baking. I am also the same Mom who very often says, 'Godddd!! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE HERE?'' to my kids, but lets leave that out for now as its out of context here. Hubby too often calls out to you as in 'God!! Are you gonna bake AGAIN???'- this to me  of course.  If you have ever heard the resounding nnnn... of a groan, it was me when I stood on my bathroom scales - you know the treacherous machine betrayed me yet again. I am also one of your devotees who eats every small bit of the prasad I get. Small introduction for you to recognize me in this ocean of people, but I hope this will suffice as you are God and you will instantly know, that its ME!!! 

Believe me, I really, really do count my blessings every day, cross my heart and sacrifice that last slice of coffee gateaux and hope to die. But God, there are some things which I guess also deserve your undivided and urgent attention. Small things, but in my humble opinion, very very important. Without taking much of your time, I shall sum them up quickly.

  • For beginners, can you please redefine a balanced diet as enough appetizers, a main course and a dessert instead of adequate carbohydrates, proteins, fiber etc etc? Yaawn! I know you are God, but I hope you have a heart too? Have a heart!!
  • Medical prescriptions should read something like - Rx - Coffee walnut cookies (snack) -  Chocolate pudding (after food) - golgappas (before food). Doctors should examine patients and gravely remark 'So you have been skipping your daily dose of dessert I presume?''
  • Boring salads should actually make us gain weight, hence to be treated as a rare indulgence and to be eaten in small quantities.
  • For weight loss and good health, dietitians should prescribe a high fat, high sugar, carbs rich diet. Am sure you can make that work God!! Remember you are GOD!!!
  • Gorging on all those greasy fries, buttery cookies and cakes, should actually transfer the shine of the fat onto the face, make the skin glow I mean. Please say yes! I will chuck that warm lemon water and honey. Stat!
  • Please seriously consider making chewing the most intensive workout possible, burning calories like no other work out can. I promise, I will NEVER miss a workout.
  • If someone fell seriously ill, people should whisper and say 'Never have I seen her eating a decent serving of dessert, this was bound to happen..tch, tch'
  • The veggie vendors with carts on the streets can also every morning get basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary along with broccoli, chives, leeks, cherry tomatoes,baby corn, zucchini etc?
  • Huge ovens should be a mandatory part of every house constructed, like the rest of the rules like proper ventilation etc etc.
  • Shouldn't every grocery store in India have a baking aisle? Aaaw, God, don't enough of us bake here now and so passionately at that ??
Of course you may not have given much thought to these things, but a baking obsessed, sweet-toothed, weight watching (see, so many adjectives!) foodie's life can be really tough. I have so much more to say ... sigh! But I know other important matters such as global warming and world peace command your immediate attention. So let me stop here today and hope you 'process' my request. Amen!

And while you do that, I shall be content with munching on some zesty Orange Biscotti, err.. low fat God! But only relatively :-(

This again comes from Smitten Kitchen, yes, one of those uber awesome blogs, I am smitten by.  I baked biscotti from Debbie's space, her Almond Biscotti. Since I decided to omit the almonds and use only the orange, I have called these Orange Biscotti. You could make them either way. I would recommend using the almonds as nuts add that touch of luxury not to mention the taste they add.

Since patience is not among my virtues, I wanted to finish this in one batch, so I have made a third of the original recipe. Was also skeptical of keeping the mixed dough waiting to be baked in the next batch. If you bake in a huge oven, go ahead and bake the entire recipe, these crunchy and light biscotti will keep well for several days, just right to much on any time of the day. If you have not baked biscotti earlier, these taste like cookies, but are far crunchier.

Recipe adapted from here, original recipe from Bon Appetit. If baking biscotti for the first time, do have a look at this video here

All purpose flour - 1 Cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt - I omitted this
Sugar - 1/2 Cup (minus 1 tbspn should be fine too)
Unsalted butter, melted - 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
Egg - 1, large, at room temperature
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Orange extract - 1/2 teaspoon (original has 1 teaspoon)
Orange zest - 1 teaspoon
Whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped or sliced almonds - 1/3 cup (optional)
Egg white - 1, for brushing

Procedure: Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 degree F. The rack is to be positioned in the center as the biscotti is to be baked twice. Since I have only one rack in my oven (the lower rack) and I probably over baked too, the bottom was a bit overdone.

I have used a 10 x 6 tin for baking. Grease and line your baking sheet or tin with parchment, grease lightly again. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt (if using) into a bowl, ensure its evenly incorporated. Melt the butter and cool it. (helps to have both melted butter and egg at room temperature to prevent any undesirable effects due to warm butter meeting cold eggs). In another large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar and egg. Add the extracts and the zest. Tip in the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon till well blended. The dough will be sticky and not stiff at all, do not add any more flour. Fold in the almonds if using.

Shape the dough into a log (an almost flat rectangle) leaving enough space all around the log as the dough will spread while baking. I used my rectangular 10 x 6 tin and had a bit of dough left over, I baked them in another tin.( If using a large baking sheet, divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing apart). The dough will feel sticky and kind of wobbly when you pat it. Try to get an even sized rectangle. I probably flattened it a bit too much, so my biscotti did not get that pretty curve I assume.

Whisk egg white until foamy, brush over the log. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or till the log turns a golden brown. Remove form the oven , lift the log from the parchment, cool on rack. Do not turn off the oven. I lowered the temperature to 160 C (as I had done this for the Coffee And Almond Biscotti) Debbie maintains the same temperature. I cooled the log for about 10 minutes on the rack.( I feel, if cooled longer, the log may be too crisp and may not slice well).

Transfer log to the counter. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut into the log diagonally into half inch wide slices. Just one sharp cut with your free hand pressing the other hand cutting into the biscotti. And while you are doing this, don't forget to eat the small bits and pieces, they already taste crisp and good! But for biscotti we want them crunchier. Discard the parchment on the baking sheet. Place the slices on the baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for about 8 minutes on each side or till golden. Keep a careful watch as you do not want them burnt.

You could bake them for longer if you want crunchier biscotti. Just be careful not to burn them. And do remember the biscotti gets crunchier as it cools. Cool completely on the rack, store in an airtight container.

And God, hope you are still around listening to what I am saying, I have just one more request. Please let my biscotti get a nicer curve the next time I bake these. They will make me more happy and also look better on my blog ;-)

And the one, can we have an option like 'Auto-decide, auto-bake, auto-pictures and write and auto-publish post' my blog? I will use this only on rainy days, I promise...


Rookie Qookie said...

Lovely Biscotti..wud love to have one now :)

divya said...

wow so tempting !! looks so wonderful !!

Seema Kamath alias Seema Abbas Ali said...

Hey Suma,

ROFL... Thoroughly enjoyed reading the post! I have never baked a Biscotti. They look good in the pics even without the nicer curve!!


Vatsala. said...

I would love to have it with a cup of tea. I've never baked the biscotti but after seeing this I'll try verry soon.

Show and Tell
Event - LGSS_Paneer

Prathibha said...

golgappas b4 lunch???
hmmm...I can have it for lunch yaar...yummm..
nice read..hope GOD listens to this..ha ha ha..
lovely color of d biscotti..:)

Rinku Naveen said...

Yummy looking biscotti

MiniBinoy said...

tempting recipe!!looks yummy!!

Priya said...

Hope God will listen to u..Btw biscotti looks super addictive and elegant..

Hasna said...

that luks awesome!! want to ve sum!!

PJ said...

I second your letter to God and especially the prescription and the salad part. Loved reading it dear. And the biscotti ,it looks so tempting that I might come straight home to get a bite.Am hungry now....

Suman Singh said...

Enjoyed reading the post!! And the biscotti looks perfect, love to have it with a cup of tea.

Gayathri Ramdas Sreekanth said...

Hilarious one..Loved the one especially with the people falling seriously ill without dessert.."Tch..tch !!".. I am very much with you to sign this petition to God !!:) :)

Sumanjit Kaur Tripathy-OBSESSION said...

Ha... ha.... Lovely write up ... ( besides the recipe )

Nachiketa said...

Ha..... Ha.. Ha.... ROFL...
This could be labeled Confessions of The Baking Ghost....
It's adorable....

Couldn't agree more with... "Gorging on all those greasy fries, buttery cookies and cakes, should actually transfer the shine of the fat onto the face, make the skin glow I mean. Please say yes! I will chuck that warm lemon water and honey."

"Medical prescriptions should read something like - Rx - Coffee walnut cookies (snack) - Chocolate pudding (after food) - golgappas (before food). Doctors should examine patients and gravely remark 'So you have been skipping your daily dose of dessert I presume?''"

Love the Biscotti, it's looking so yummy... want to grab my coffee n chomp away at these..

The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

Alka said... seems tht this girl have ditto-ed my each and every thought..why ...oh why can't all this be possible?..I mean , ok I am not a dessert person..but panipuris before lunch...why not GOD ?
And biscotti..well I am yet to bake one,and orange is my favorite flavor, it mellows down tht 'too sweet' flavor and thts how I prefer my 'sweets' to be :-)

Shubha said...

gud letter time please include me as well in ur letter regarding the weight issues........ by the way, bisciuts look crisp and yummy

Zareena said...

Biscuits look scrumptious and perfectly baked. I want these now.. :)

swapna said...

Perfect and lovely biscotti....

Sum said...

Nice looking biscotti...
A wonderful petition to God... enjoyed reading it! But well, if He heeds to your last request of 'option like 'Auto-decide, auto-bake, auto-pictures and write and auto-publish post', then i wonder if the posts will be as interesting as written by you ;)
So i prefer you writing than Him!!!

Sanjeeta kk said...

Lovely read, Suma! The Biscotti look perfect with beautiful crust, and orange in it must have given a delightful flavor.

♥Aps♥ said...

God!!! every word was hilarious ;)
n God the Biscotti is Super

Abdhul Rehman said...

oooooo... So.... Goood, God is given me only Sambar Made out of dall and Rasam made out of Tamarind. (Mindset) Ashok Kumar A

Jayashree said...

Enjoyed reading this post. The biscotti looks perfect.

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Cooking Foodie said...

I loved your post... especially - Doctors should examine patients and gravely remark 'So you have been skipping your daily dose of dessert I presume?'
If someone fell seriously ill, people should whisper and say 'Never have I seen her eating a decent serving of dessert, this was bound to happen..tch, tch'
Biscotti looks great... I would probably cover it half with chocolate...