Biscotti for lazy swine
SHORTENED FOR EVEN MORE LAZY SWINE-PEOPLE VERSION #2 update on feb 23 2020
you will need a big bowl, a sharp thin long knife, enough aluminum foil to cover two cookie sheets, and two days.
throw 6 eggs, a cup of softened salt butter, two pinches of salt, 2 cups white sugar, a little almond flavouring, a lot of vanilla, one pinch cardamom and a two pinches of cinnamon, two cups *previously toasted nuts*, (hazelnuts or almonds by preference), two large teaspoons of baking powder, and five cups of unbleached all purpose flour in the bowl. Get the ingredients acquainted until no flour shows. Put the dough in a container in the fridge.
The next day form what’s left of the dough that your roommate didn’t eat into two logs. The fatter the log the longer the biscotti. Centre each log in a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and squash it down. Bake for about 25 minutes, and watch it like a hawk so the edges don’t burn.
Take the logs out and roll them gently off the aluminum foil onto a cutting board. Leave the oven on. That shit about cooling the first bake is terrible make work shit like recipes are always full of. The most important thing is to show no fear. Take your big knife, and while imitating the action of a paper cutter – fearless and even – slice the loaf into biscotti sized slices. Thinner than 2 cm may break, much fatter doesn’t crisp right. Put slices back on the same cookie sheet (no grease or cooking sheet required) and bake until the OGB ORIGINAL GOLDEN BROWN BABY
STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS HA HA HA HA HA HA no.
LONG CHATTY VERSION
Adapted from a Toronto Star recipe about a zillion years ago. What you will need;
Two big bowls
An electric knife (really really helps) or a thin sharp knife with a serrated edge
Three cookie sheets
Enough HEAVY DUTY aluminum foil to cover the three cookie sheets
6 large eggs
two pinches salt
2 cups white sugar
2 tsps vanilla
1 cup melted butter (no substitutions are permitted – marge does NOT cut it)
2 – 3 cups any combination of hand chopped hazelnuts and almonds
5 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder (I use slightly less)
several pinches cinnamon
optional but optimal several pinches ground cardamom
Sift the flour, baking soda and spices in one bowl. Dump all the other ingredients in the other and beat violently for about a minute. Upend the flour and spices in the other bowl. Get all the ingredients acquainted, but only just barely. Use your hands if necessary
Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for a couple of hours. Do not refrigerate for more than 12 hours or the dough will turn an odd speckly colour, which does not affect the taste but is not aesthetic. If you are in a hurry, add slightly more flour to reduce dough stickiness if necessary and go to the next step. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put the aluminum foil down on two of the cookie sheets.
Divide the dough into four parts, and squeeze with your hands into a log shape. The final result should have a smooth surface with no big gaps or cracks, be between 1 1/2 and 2 inches in diameter and about ten to twelve inches long. Place this log lengthwise on the cookie sheet, one inch from the side. Do likewise with another log. Do the same with the last two logs on a separate cookie sheet. Mash them down with your hand until they seem quite impossibly flat. This is the only way to get the real biscotti shape.
For the first bake – 20 – 30 minutes is about right. I have given up trying to measure the time because it seems to vary so much with each batch and oven. Basically, when the smell starts to drive you insane, pull them out. They should be quite brown on the bottom as this crust is part of the structural integrity that allows you to move and cut the logs without destroying them. Check to make sure that the top of the logs isn’t ‘doughy’ looking or you’ll be cursing when you come to cut them; then the final product, while entirely edible, will look funny – sort of ‘pregnant’. If they are doughy, toss them back in for another 5 minutes at least. Cool the logs to the point you can comfortably handle them, peel gently from the aluminum foil, and transfer to a cutting board and then slice in half inch slices. The original recipe says “Cool logs completely” but I don’t find that works at all well. An electric knife makes cutting easy. Otherwise the most laborious part is cutting up the logs without rendering them into expensive crumbs. The technique for doing this is hard to describe and really depends on the knife you are using and how klutzy you are. An even, fairly swift ‘rocking’ cutting motion is best – do NOT saw, and don’t try to cut them too thin. Think “paper cutter at work”. Place the cookies flat on the three cookie sheets and bake another 15 minutes at 350 until golden brown. For extra crispiness turn off the heat and let them sit for a while longer, otherwise pull them out and let them cool completely before you put them in containers.
Tomorrow…. Entirely Evil Chocolate Cake