Part XXIV: Walls of Light
Biscotti SUCKS. Forgive me for sounding like a 12-year old from 1992 who just realized his Nickelodeon magazine didn’t come with enough stickers, but yeah, I needed to make a loud point, so there you have it.
For those of you who live under a rock (or a big piece of biscotti, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE AM I RIGHT FANS), biscotti is the calculated result of an Italian man who decided he wanted to combine the absolute worst aspects of a cookie and a fruitcake. Hard and crumbly like a really bad, stale cookie? Check. Random pieces of fruits and nuts that sneak up on you like that uncomfortable uncle who likes hide-and-seek just a little too much? Double check.
To it’s credit, it got the shape right…so that’s something. Hooray, Mr. Prattonian (I checked, that’s where said Italian man made this monstrosity), you understand how dipping works. Gold star for you.
But for most of this thing, it’s an uncomfortable, mouth-roof-destroying festival of disaster, topped off by an always-frantic effort to keep the crumbs from settling in between those little Macbook Pro keys or whatever the hell kids have these days. I hear Microsoft made something called a Surface. I plan to go into their store, use Windex Extra-Strength Surface Cleanser on all of them, and feign confusion. Mirth will be had by all, I’m sure.
At this point, you may be asking yourself: “OK, he clearly hates these things. Why is he making them?” Good question. With two answers.
1. There’s a right way to make these things. If you do make them right, which isn’t how 99% of biscotti are made, they have just the right amount of crunch while still failing to disintegrate in your freaking hands. They actually become something to celebrate, instead of “damnit they’re out of muffins, oh well”.
2. This isn’t a normal biscotti, so it doesn’t have that whole-grainy fruits and nuts and acorns thing going on in it. This is Biscotti with Lime and Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans, and it’s a whole lot different than that crap in a dusty glass jar at Starbucks.
So if you want to save something decent from its usual self, and make it into something truly good, follow me. If not, go buy some Chips Ahoy or something. You cretin.
Here’s what you need:
– 1 3/4 cups AP flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
– 3/4 cup sugar
– A lime
– 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans (yes, you’re gonna have to go out of your way for these. But they’re worth it. Don’t half-ass it and substitute for chocolate chips or something, it just doesn’t work as well here.)
– Decorative sugar (that colored sparkly nonsense they have in grocery stores)
Here’s how you do it:
Preheat your oven to 350.
Throw all the dry stuff in a bowl and whisk it. That means flour, baking soda/powder and salt, you know the drill.
Next, put the butter, sugar and vanilla in your stand mixer bowl. Zest the lime and add that in too (the zest, not the lime…obviously). Mix it at medium high until it’s nice and fluffy, and don’t hold back, you want this stuff to be smooth.
Mix in an egg until it’s fully incorporated, then do the same for the other one. That’s TWO eggs. Two. I know it says three up there, but just hold the hell on. The other one’s coming, promise.
Chop up your espresso beans. You want a rough chop here, so that means somewhere in between “finely ground choco-dust” and “oh, that’s the handle. OHGODIMBLEEDINGHELP”. Basically, think about what you want in your mouth. Do you want big-ass chunks that take up the whole cookie? No. Do you want pieces of chocolate that disintegrate as soon as they touch dough? Also no. Chop accordingly.
Add the espresso beans into the batter, and mix on low so the damn thing doesn’t go flying all over your kitchen. Then, add the flour mixture and do the same.
Once you have a fully-mixed dough on your hands, get a big cutting board or other similar flat thing and spread a little flour on it. Do the same for your hands. Turn out the dough onto said flat thing and divide it in half, then roll them both into inch and a half wide logs.
Pat down the top of each log gently, like the one on the left in the picture. This isn’t a freaking pizza, don’t go pounding it into your counter while you sing the end credits to Frasier or something. You know what biscotti looks like, make it that size. Then let it chill out in the fridge for an hour.
Take that last egg and whisk it, then brush the tops of the soon-to-be-biscottis with the egg. Follow that up with a little decorative sugar on top (or regular, if you want to be regular), and throw them in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Go towards the low end if you want your biscotti to be a little chewier, or towards the 30 minute mark if you want crumbs all over your floor. Entirely up to you.
After they’ve had a chance to bake, take the biscotti out and make sure it’s got that nice, golden brownness to it. If it doesn’t, throw it back in for a few more minutes. If it does, let it cool for five minutes, then take a serrated knife and cut the logs into diagonal slices. Some of its probably gonna crumble off, just do your best to hold it all together, both emotionally and cookie-wise.
Turn the slices on one side and put them back in for eight minutes, then flip and do the other sides for another eight, put them on a cooling rack, and you’re done.
This week’s beat comes from AARONMAXWELL, who feels that making his name and all his songs in all caps makes them better. Turns out…he’s right. Here’s AARONMAXWELL with LAPSE:
I’m tempted, here, to insert today’s lesson of the week, spin the wheel of morality, and print “friendship is magic” on the side of a nice vanilla cake. But I don’t feel like it. And that’s the beauty of writing your own blog: I don’t have to do it. So lessons come next time. For now, here’s what you need to know:
1. Most biscotti is crumbly-ass garbage. Mine isn’t. Make mine.
2. This isn’t actually my recipe, it’s my mom’s. She’s good at cooking. So credit where credit’s due, or something.
3. Stay fresh. See you next time, fans.