Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lenox Almond Biscotti w. Dried Blueberries (TWD)

It's that time of the week again, so you know it's time for a Tuesdays With Dorie sweet treat. This week's hostess is Gretchen at Canela & Comino , and she selected Lenox Almond Biscotti for this week's baking exercise. BTW, Gretchen writes often about Peruvian food on her blog, and it's really fun and interesting to read about Peru's cuisine and culture...check it out!

I've been curious to try Dorie Greenspan's biscotti recipes since I purchased the book, and now I have an opportunity to try them out! I think biscotti is the perfect cookie to bake and share, as it:

1.) has a pretty decent shelf life (a week +)
2.) is sturdy and holds its shape
3.) is the perfect vehicle for a variety of flavors and ingredients.

For these reasons, it's the perfect "pack & ship" cookie for family and friends who don't live close by.

I've tried a wide variety of biscotti recipes, and have now narrowed my favorites down to two (which are both from epicurious.com): cranberry & pistachio and double chocolate walnut. I love both of these recipes as they are not overly sweet, crispy/crunchy in texture, easy and unfussy to bake, and loved by everyone who tries them! :)

"Lenox" in the recipe title refers to the NYC restaurant from where Dorie obtained this recipe. The recipe looks like your typical biscotti recipe, except for the unusual addition of cornmeal. I decided to make the recipe as written, and folded in 1/2 cup of dried wild blueberries (from Trader Joes) along with the almonds.
So, what are my thoughts on the recipe? On the positive side, I liked the use of sliced almonds and I was pleasantly surprised by the crunchy texture that the cornmeal provided.

Speaking of slicing, I have a great tip to ensure pretty biscotti slices: when you take the cookie logs out after the first bake, spray the tops with H2O (or you can apply with a pastry brush) right before you slice them. This softens the top just enough, so the crust will not crumble when you cut into them, and you won't have jaggedy looking slices. Once they are baked a second time, the cookies will come out looking perfect and crunchy!

On the negative side, I had a couple of problems with the flavor and baking instructions. The cookies were too sweet for my taste (perhaps reducing the sugar to 2/3 cup would help) and the almond flavor was overwheming (next time, going to reduce the almond extract to 1/2 tsp). The baking times were also way off... the first baking time should have been much longer. The recipe calls for 15 minutes, but it took 30 minutes for my logs to bake through.

I'm going to try this recipe again, making the above adjustments. I don't think this will replace my go-to recipes, but I did find that the cornmeal provided and unexpected but enjoyable crunch and texture.
For the recipe, Gretchen has it on her site. To see how the other TWD bakers did, check out the blogroll.

35 comments:

Marthe said...

Your biscotti look very tasty!! Great tip on the use of H2O before slicing the giant cookie after the first bake! I have to remake mine today, as my first batch turned out to be not so good....

Lori said...

they look great with the dried blueberries, which sound great with the cornmeal. i switched the almond extract to vanilla and it was great. i want to try that double chocolate walnut recipe you linked, too!

Isabelle said...

avec des bleuets séchés, ça devait être très bon ! jolie photos :)

chocolatechic said...

Yours look so good.

Did you say double chocolate?

Must try...must try...must try.

vibi said...

I promise... when I get to about 4 blogs away from yours... my brain starts itching, from wanting so bad to admire what you'll have to share with us.
Never disapointed, nope... not on my watch! LOL
Beautiful biscotti! Bravissimo!

The DeL Sisters said...

Yum! Blueberries sound like a great addition!

Julie said...

Nice pictures!
With bluberries is such a good idea!

Engineer Baker said...

Dried blueberries sound delicious, and I agree - the almond flavor was really strong. But they look delicious to me!

kim said...

i wouldn't have thought of blueberries, great idea! and great tip about the water, too :)

Cristine said...

Love the blueberries!!! I'll be trying the pistachio biscotti (and your water tip!). :)

Rachel said...

The dried blueberries look great. This was my first experience with biscotti baking, and the other two recipes you mentioned sound amazing-I think I will be trying one of those next!

Mary Jo said...

i'm going to have to try the cranberry and pistachio biscotti you mentioned, perfect for christmas :) i agree w/ regarding the baking time, it took about the same amount of time for me, 30 minutes.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Lovely job on these! Blueberries sound delicious!!!

Audrey said...

I didn't have any problems with crumbling, so now I'm sure my logs were underbaked...doesn't matter, I think I like them that way! Blueberries were a great idea...your photos are great, too.

Libby said...

I love the blueberries! I used currant soaked in rum... I bet blueberries would be great, too!

The Food Librarian said...

Such great photos and the dried wild blueberries sound so tasty! Great job!

CB said...

Good tip about wetting the top of the loaf before slicing! I'll have to remember that. Love that upclose picture of the biscotti. You can see the blueberry bits! Yum!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

n.o.e said...

Great post! Love the tips and the blueberries look fabulous in your biscotti. I'll check out your favorite recipes; this experience whetted my appetite!
Nancy

SiHaN said...

Great advice on getting those smooth edges on the second bake! I'll be sure to use that next time. and yes! the malted ice cream..i'll have to make that dont I. after you sold it so well! hehe.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

great tip--your bisctti do llok perfect! and dried blueberries were probably pretty great with the cornmeal and almond!

Liz said...

Blueberry and almond sounds awesome! I think I'm the only person on the planet who didn't have undercooked biscotti--must have been because I halved the recipe. If I'd done the whole batch I think it would've been trouble.

Rigby said...

I love the addition of blueberries! Thanks for the biscotti tip...I will try that soon!

Teanna said...

I LOVE your idea to use the TJs wild blueberries! That is actually making me crave some cereal with them sprinkled in! Your biscotti look great - the almond flavor was quite strong but your adjustment to the amount of extract sounds perfect!

bakingwiththeboys said...

Blueberries...yum. Thanks for the biscotti baking tips.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Your biscotti look gorgeous! Dried blueberries was a great idea. Thanks for the slicing tip too. I will definitely try that next time.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Very interesting blog and your biscotti look delicious. Thank you for the recipes - I am going to make the pistachio one.

Rebecca said...

Great tip on the biscotti slicing! I'd never heard that. Double-chocolate walnut biscotti is now on my To Do list. ;)

Leslie said...

Great idea to used dried blueberries, and I appreciate your tips (and links to favorite recipes--must try!)

pinkstripes said...

Great tip about spraying water after the first bake. I'll have to try it next time. Your biscotti look yummy!

LyB said...

It might not become your go to recipe but you sure made them look good! :)

Heather B said...

Thanks for the tip on the cutting! I'll have to try that next time. Your biscotti looks delicious!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Great tips for next time I make biscotti. Thanks!!

Esther B said...

All your photos of your blog are super beautiful:)))

Jules Someone said...

These look mighty tasty!

Kim said...

Wow, they look just wonderful. Biscotti are one of my favorites and you have inspired me to try a cornmeal one. Lovely photos, by the way.

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