Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Fig and Walnut Biscotti

I was looking for the perfect cookie to make. Something spiced, and sweet but not too sweet. Something that you could taste and it would just make you smile. But not something I might normally label as "junk food," i.e., a treat that was a delicious dessert while still being "real food." Something I'd never had before. Something with figs. I poked around all my bookmarks, finding nothing that appealed. Then I poked around my favourite blogs (which really did take a considerable amount of time). I'm thankful I found something here, at Smitten Kitchen, because the next step was to start sorting through my hundreds of cookbooks in search for the one. I found The One. Fig and walnut biscotti.

These things are just delicious. I was actually too lazy to toast the walnuts, and they were still phenomenal. I took some of these to work so I could share (because really, who needs to eat 2 dozen cookies on their own?) and even the girl who lives on frozen pizza rolls (she is anxious to never ingest anything that could be considered real food) enjoyed them. I'm just cut and pasting the recipe directly from the link above, but I'm putting the changes I made in italics so you can decide for yourself how you want to do it. I hope you make them; they really are quite delicious!

"Makes approximately 24 biscotti

1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup dried Turkish or Calimyrna figs, quartered
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons or 3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling (I didn't sprinkle any sugar)
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (plus another teaspoon of vanilla paste)
Grated zest of 1/2 a large orange (I used a clementine)(I used a valencia)
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (or 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon. ground nutmeg (I used 3/8 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
1 egg white, lightly beaten (I didn't bother with this at all)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Allow the walnuts to cool completely. (I skipped this step entirely)

2. Place the walnuts and dried figs in a food processor and process until they are finely chopped. (I chopped these with a knife, making them ring-fingernail sized)

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula occasionally. Beat in the vanilla and the orange zest.

4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture to form a somewhat firm dough. Add the walnuts and figs and beat until thoroughly combined. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and chill 35 to 40 minutes or until completely firm. (I put it in Tupperware and left it overnight)

5. When the dough has chilled, lightly grease a baking sheet. On a floured board, use your palms to roll the piece of dough into a log the length of the baking sheet. Place the log on the baking sheet. (really, don't skimp on the flour)

6. In a small bowl, beat the egg white with a fork until frothy. With a pastry brush, glaze the log with some egg white and sprinkle it with granulated sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (this took longer in my oven, but everything seems to these days), or until the log is lightly golden brown, firm to the touch and just beginning to crack slightly. (I didn't do the egg and sugar. Also, I heated my oven to 350F, since that's my normal biscotti temperature and a temperature was only listed for toasting the nuts)

7. Allow the log to cool on the cookie sheet until cool to the touch, about 40 minutes. With a serrated knife, slice the biscotti, slightly on the bias, into 1/2-inch slices. Lay the slices on the cookie sheet in single layer (I always end up needing a second baking sheet in this step, as they have a lot more surface area); Return the biscotti to the oven and cook for 20 more minutes, or until the biscotti are toasted and crisp.

Store the biscotti in an airtight container. They will keep up to about 2 weeks."

2 comments:

  1. I love biscotti, but would have never thought of this wonderful sounding combo. Very nice!

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  2. Mary, they're really just wonderful. I've happily munched on them for days (made even better by the fact that P doesn't eat biscotti).

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