Thursday, August 30, 2012

cookie o' the month...


























As we're getting ready to say good-bye to Summer and head into Fall, 
Baker Beth gives us one last warm weather hurrah with, the August Cookie O' The Month!
And as always, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmTasty Goodness. Thanks Beth and Yes, Please.

Enjoy and have a wonderful Holiday Weekend Kids!
-angelo

FROM BAKER BETH:
I have this thing about dipping.

I must not have dipped enough as a kid. Today, it seems like kids dip everything they eat. But I was not raised in the era of chicken nuggets.

To make up for it, apparently, I find myself thinking a lot of dippable thoughts about cookies. Sometimes, dipping is a means of including ingredients that don't otherwise make sense in a baked good. But sometimes, dipping is a means of making a dessert more communal. Cookies by their nature are a grab-and-go food, but cookies with dip are best enjoyed at the table. Ideally, with others. See? That's nice. Convivial.

And as summer winds down, I'm thinking about s'mores. I'm not likely to be found with a s'more in hand but I admire the combination of flavors and textures. S'mores, though, are very "of the moment." I wanted to make something a little more accessible. And many thoughts later, I arrived at almond graham biscotti* with a side of hot fudge and marshmallow fluff for dipping.

Yes, you'll miss the toasty marshmallow jacket but your clothes won't smell like smoke.

And with that, I am ready for fall! Enjoy summer's last hurrah, kids! — Beth

* No, almonds don't belong in s'mores, but they lend a bit of textural and visual interest to what would otherwise be rather homely biscotti, boring and brown.

Almond Graham Biscotti with Hot Fudge and Marshmallow Fluff (Recipe by yours truly) 

Biscotti:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toasted almonds

In a medium bowl, whisk together the two flours, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and dark brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed after each addition until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla until well combined.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until combined. The dough will be sticky. With the mixer still on low, mix in the almonds. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment. Divide the dough into equal halves and place on the cookie sheet. Working on the sheet, shape each half into a loaf about 10 inches long, 3 inches wide, and 3/4 inch high. Bake until the tops are browned, cracked, and crusty, and spring back slightly when gently pressed, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool about 30 minutes on the cookie sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Transfer each loaf to a cutting board and with a sharp serrated bread knife, cut 1/2-inch slices crosswise on the diagonal. When slicing, hold the sides of the loaf near each cut to keep the slices neat. Put the slices cut side down on the cookie sheet and bake until the biscotti are dried and the cut surfaces are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the biscotti cool completely. The biscotti may give slightly when pressed but will harden as they cool.

Beth Note: These aren't like some rock-hard biscotti you may have had. They're crunchy, but not teeth-harmingly so.

Further Beth Note: When cutting these, saw carefully and let the weight of the knife do most of the work. You want to cut through the almonds, not jam the knife into them and pull them out of the slices.

Dip: Hot fudge Marshmallow fluff

Because of how it would read in the photograph, I bought a jar of dark-chocolate ice cream topping, which can be heated but is not officially hot fudge. The Serbian in me hangs her head in shame that she did not make hot fudge sauce from scratch, but you might want to consider it because it'll be far better than anything you can buy in a jar. Trust me, you don't want to read the label. Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen has a recipe that's adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook, a longtime favorite of mine. You might want to give that one a try. As for homemade marshmallow fluff, you could melt marshmallows with a bit of butter, I suppose. Or you can save yourself the sticky step and buy a jar of the fluffy stuff.

2 comments:

dstoutholcomb said...

oh, biscotti, hot fudge and marshmallow fluff--be still my heart...Baker Beth is an angel :)

Beth said...

Aw, thanks!

If anyone needs me, I'll be polishing my halo!

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