Monday, October 12, 2009

Double Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Today is my off day. And off day = baking day. Baking is therapeutic. I love seeing how the flour, eggs, sugar and butter turn into delicious works of art upon its exit from the oven. The feeling's simply magical.

I had all the time in the world today. I can decide what time i wanted to wake up, what to do, when to start doing and how long I'll take to do it. I've been looking forward to this day, cos I'm finally gotta take my own sweet time to bake some comfort food for me and my family. It's also the day for new experiments, and that means, trying out new recipes that I've never done before.

You know, I feel really really blessed. The very things I needed and wanted, were those very things that were already put (bought) in place for me. The oven, stand mixer, dslr...all these I have access to, at my convenience and my disposal, without needing to pay a single cent. Ha...this makes me a very happy girl! My mum used to bake ever so often, hence the kitchen is equipped with good quality equipment, and my dad, loves photography, hence the dslr is there! This means I can get to do alllll the baking and photography I want, without paying for the equipment! *squeals in delight*

I've finally decided that I'm hardworking enough to swop my trusty Panasonic Lumix for the Nikon D60. It takes quite abit of effort to stand on the tips of my toes to pull out that black bag from my daddy's cupboard, and more to find the right spot where daylight actually shines into the house. As I'm used to baking at night, getting daylight in my photos is a totally impossible task.

Laying out my current two favourite baking books side by side, one by Dorie Greenspan (which I favour alot more these days) and the other by Martha Stewart. I decided to go for the latter for variety sake. Was craving something suitable for breakfast and tea and hence I picked this recipe.

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of pistachios and was seriously contemplating substituting them with hazelnuts. But since I found it at the baking supplies store, I took a chance and went for it. Sure enough, it did not disappoint. I loved the combination of chocolate and pistachios in this crispy teatime cookie. I used the best quality cocoa powder I could find - Valrhona, together with Ghiradhelli semisweet chocolate chips. Martha Stewart's recipe is a little on the sweet side and I toned this down by using less sugar. Still, it was sweet and I'll just have to reduce the sweetness even more next time. The execution could have been improved though, cos my biscottis came out really long! Nevertheless, I love the deep, chocolaty flavour of this cookie, which perfectly complements a good cuppa coffee. Now I have an excuse to take that midday break. Yay to more tea breaks this week!

Double Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies

85g unsalted butter
220g all-purpose flour
50g Valrhona unsweetened cocoa powder
180g castor sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
100g pistachio nuts (toasted)
1/2 cup Ghiradhelli semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Add in flour mixture and incorporate to form a stiff dough. Stir in pistachios and chocolate chips.

3. Transfer dough to baking sheet. Shape the dough into a slightly flattened log. Bake for 25 -28 minutes, until the dough is slightly firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

4. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log diagonally into inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti slices on a baking sheet, with the cut sides facing down, and bake the biscottis for 8-10 minutes, until crisp but still slightly soft in the center.

Yields 12- 14 biscottis.

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