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'
  • 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 - 162 grams
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1/3 of 1/3 rd teaspoon
Sugar - 100 grams / 1/2 Cup (minus 1 tbspn should be fine too)
Unsalted butter, melted - 46 grams, weigh, melt and cool
Egg - 48 grams / 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

YOU WILL NEED : A whisk, spatula, a citrus zester, a dough scraper, a silicon brush, a sharp serrated knife apart from the usual tools.

PROCEDURE: Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 F. Line a baking sheet or tray with parchment. I have used a 10'' x 12'' tray, use a bigger one if your oven can accommodate. Or halve the above recipe to make a tiny batch in a 9'' square tin.

Mise en place.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt twice. Keep aside.
In another large bowl, take the sugar, melted butter, egg, orange zest and vanilla. Gently whisk to incorporate. No need to work up a volume.

Stir in the flour mixture gently in two additions. When you can still see some flour here and there, add the nuts or chocolate if you wish to. Stir them in gently till you have an uniform mixture. This will be quite sticky. Do not add more flour. 

Now comes the relatively difficult part. Scrape the dough onto the center of the lined baking sheet. Wet your hands lightly, elongate the dough to form a rough log. Pat so that it is 1/2'' tall ( that would be about 3'' wide and 12'' long for the recipe above. If halving the recipe,  the log can be 3'' wide and 6'' long). Am not very sure about this but read that the log should not be way taller as it may have plenty of cracks, meaning lots of crumbly slices. So stick to dimensions mentioned in a recipe! If I am not sure, I think 1/2'' tall should be safe in most recipes.

The log will spread, so make sure there is about two inches space all around the log ( about 4'' space between TWO logs). If the sheet is small ,cut off excess part with a dough scraper and transfer to another sheet. 
Pat with wet hands to smooth the top. Use a dough scraper for the sides if needed. A neat, uniform log will give you uniform biscotti. Lightly brush the top and sides with the whisked white.

Bake for about 30 minutes till golden and firm to the touch. If in doubt, err on the side of over-baking. Remove from the oven, let the log remain on the sheet. Lower the oven temperature to 160 C.

Cool on a rack for about 20 minutes or more as convenient. Spray or brush the top very LIGHTLY with water, let stand 5 minutes. This helps soften the log, slice it easily especially if the log has cracked.

Lift the log from the sheet, place on the counter. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 1/2'' wide slices (cross-wise or diagonal). Uniform slices is uniform baking. Place the knife on the log, gently but firmly press it down to cut all the way through. The log should be baked through, but will still be moist and softish.
Don't worry if you don't get perfect slices. As long as the biscotti doesn't crumble into bits and pieces, rough looking slices should taste just as good. 

Stand the cut slices on their backs on the baking sheet, 1 /2 '' apart. (Imagine just separating the slices of the log). Bake about 15 minutes, remove the tray from the oven. Keep the oven on. The biscotti will be soft but will harden as they cool. Once they cool completely, bite into one. Bake 5 minutes more if you want them crunchier. Remove from oven, cool completely. Store airtight. Should keep at least for a week.

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 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

chef and her kitchen 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 Suresh said...

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

Hasna said...

that luks awesome!! want to ve sum!!

Padmajha 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 Kitchen 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...