Cooking with Spirits: Amaretto Biscotti

IMG_8943 It’s an adult topic. Liquor in the kitchen.  And it’s the  Recipe Redux July theme. Here is our challenge:

From plain Jane vanilla extract to fancy-pants elderflower liqueur, we like to keep a little liquor in the kitchen. Show us how you like to cook, bake or mix-it-up with spirits, extracts and other alcohols. A splash of vodka makes summer sauces shine – and liqueurs brighten desserts: What’s your healthy recipe with spirit?

Once again there are many ways that someone passionate about food /drink could go about this challenge. Rather than succumbing to my first thought, ‘I don’t know where to begin’,  I first checked to see what spirits I had on hand; my kitchen isn’t dry but the supply’s limited. Vanilla extract is a staple in my kitchen. A wine rack holds a few bottles of Australian Shiraz and a favorite bottle of chardonnay. Way back in the the cabinet sits an aging bottle of amaretto. Hmm, baked goods are sooo enhanced by this almond liqueur; maybe it’s time I  put  my bakers’ hat back on.  So I surfed the web for something to bake that would be redux worthy- in need of  a makeover. Then I found this: Amaretto Biscotti.

I made a few modifications; the first was to enhance these biscotti with the nutritional benefits of  whole wheat, but with lighter color and milder taste using whole white wheat for a portion of the all-purpose flour.  Dark chocolate was my choice for both the chocolate covered almonds and for finishing the biscotti based on taste preference, but let’s not forget there are also health benefits to moderate consumption of  dark chocolate  (related to plant phenols, or cocoa phenols to be exact). Now the result is no health food, but every once in a while a gal has to indulge herself, right? Well, that’s the mantra I share with my daugther and  I because I  baked these on her  birthday, they will also be known as birthday biscotti. Happy Birthday, Sydney!

Please be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for more ‘spirited’ recipes!

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Amaretto Biscotti

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (2 dozen)

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup whole white wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1 cup dark chocolate covered almonds
  • 4 ounces of dark chocolate, 72% cacao or higher

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium high speed until light and fluffy.

4. Beat in eggss, liqueur, and vanilla and almond extracts until combined.

5. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture; beat until just incorporated.

6. Fold in raw and chocolate-covered almonds.

7. With your hands dusted in flour, divide dough in half and shape into two 3 x 12 inch logs on the prepped baking sheet.

8. Bake about 25 minustes until puffed and set. Cool about 10 minutes.

9. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs on a diagonal into 1-inch thick cookies; arrange cut side down on the baking sheet.

10. Return to the oven and bake, flipping halfway through until dry and golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

11. Place 4 ounces of dark chocolate in small saucepan and melt slowly over medium heat. Drizzle on the biscotti and allow to set about 30 minutes.

12. Store in a metal tin with sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper between them.

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