Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWD: Biscotti Marching Band...



















I am happy to be back in the swing of things with Tuesdays with Dorie especially on a week with such a great recipe that will come in handy--and one I would have picked out to make soon had it not come up in rotation! Thanks to Gretchen of Canela & Comino this week we baked Lenox Almond Biscotti....I'll tell you now, I already can't wait to make these again...and no one is more shocked as I am because I certainly did not have high hopes when I started out...


The dough started to come together fine--but by the last step it was so sticky--half was around the paddle, yet the other half around the bowl.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with doughs of any kind (except the "Play-doh" variety). Whether they be for pies, pastry, bread, I always feel like I do it incorrectly and I'm a bumbling idiot trying to roll it out, pat it out, into the desired shape/size. So I took one look in the bowl and worried that somehow I screwed up--again...then all the questions come out like "Did I over-beat?" "Under beat?" "Mis-measure anything?"

"Curses!! Why does dough hate me so!?!!!!" (because even when I'm annoyed--I can still be a poet...)

But I pushed onward hoping I could still work with it and make them into the form of "logs" like Dorie was calling for. This task took some time--because if dealing with dough wasn't bad enough, I had to deal with measurements. It's time I also admit I have no sense of spacial relation--I am not one of those who can "eyeball" an inch..or 2 inches...or 12...it doesn't stop there--I'm awful at estimating longer distances as well (this is one of the many reasons I was never a great golfer---if someone asked me how far I hit a ball off a tee--I would have no clue--50 yards? 150 yards? Hell, I dunno, if you asked me I either hit it "far" or "wicked far" or as was most often the case--it was still where it had started and went nowhere)

So when a recipe says form into logs 12"x1.5", mine will be (and were) more like 9x2.5" until I took out my trusty ruler and worked them out to be the dimension that was actually called for.

Into the oven they went...and then I had to deal with the "bake until lightly browned and spongy" part...sigh...another judgement call. I baked at the time called for, added 2-3 more minutes--the edges were brown, but the tops were still looking the same as they did when they went in. I pressed a finger onto one and I can't say "spongy" is the word that came to mind. (FYI, I'm glad I used 2 different baking sheets--and thank you to the TWD posters who warned it would spread in a major way--it certainly did)

>Here is my before-after first bake:








At this point, I still was not convinced these would ever see the light of day, but I pulled them out and let them rest for the 30 minutes called for....

..and 30 minutes later, came more measuring issues--cutting them up every 3/4"....once again, I brought out a ruler because I knew once again I can't be left to my own devices.


Oh but I still had not encountered the hardest part...no, the hardest part was trying to figure out what on earth it meant when in the instructions for the 2nd baking of the cut biscotti stated to line them all up on the sheets "like a marching band"....


....say what? I stared at the description...thinking (1) she musn't mean flat side/cut side down or she'd say that...(2) it doesn't say stand up like "dominos" (which would mean on their short-sides...which was impossible anyway with the uneven ends)...so I guessed that she meant cut them and leave spaces in between each cut piece, but don't flip them over on their sides, keep them upright. (If that's not what she meant, someone please tell me what "marching band" means....other than making them into a formation of a kaleidescope a la a REAL marching band, I've got no clue...)




=








And so I baked 15 min, and lo and behold, I ended up with practically perfect almond biscotti!!

The only pause I had eating them was the cornmeal that was called for--it sort of leaves a gritty kinda feeling behind...but nothing a swig o' joe can't wash down. Besides that, the texture was PERFECT---I don't like the super-crunchy ones that basically fall apart into crumbs before they reach your mouth, and still they were not too soft, so were good for holding up to 'dunking' Not too hard-and not too soft. Yes, I think even Goldilocks would deem these "just right"!


I will be making these again (and again..) and I think they will pack up and travel well, so to my faithful reader (that means you, Dad...) Get ready for a care package over the holidays that include some of these treats for your coffee!! :)

15 comments:

Cathy said...

Lis, the only thing I could possibly love more than your post would be if we could sit down together with our Lenox Almond Biscotti, our cups 'o joe washing away that vague cornmeal grit, while we sketched out what Dorie might mean by "marching band" and laughed about ol' times. BTW, I used a ruler too. The Buckeye marching band -- too awesome. I just found some two-bit high school band. I was actually hoping to find a picture of the Southern or Grambling band doing a routine on the ground (which is sort of what these biscotti looked like -- sort of?) but then I thought IT'S MIDNIGHT AND YOU UP SURFING THE INTERNET FOR A PICTURE OF A COLLEGE MARCHING BAND LAYING ON THE DIRT FOR YOUR BAKING BLOG!!!, and suddenly felt decidedly not-normal, so I abandoned the search and went to bed.

Glad you loved these as much as I did. Yours look wonderful! Let's bake some for Thanksgiving week!

Barbara said...

I pulled out my ruler too! If you don't like the cornmeal, just use plain flour instead next time. Personally I love that gritty crunch. Must be the Southern ancestry on my Dad's side...

n.o.e said...

Oh, yeah, that ruler is a regular kitchen staple around here. The "marching band" instruction was the weirdest thing I've ever read in a cookbook. Luckily the P&Q saved me - I have no idea why she didn't just say to stand on the same side as the first bake. This is a great recipe for a cuppa. I was also pleasantly surprised - and I will be making these again. Great post!!
Nancy

Prudy said...

Oh, don't you just love happy endings? I've been so convinced that something is ruined at times and forged ahead to find it was just great. Other times, it's been the opposite unfortunately. These look wonderful!

Cathy said...

Hey Lis -- I just read your comment on my blog, and it totally brought me back to that time in Paris . . . in that little cafe . . . with that waiter -- what was his name?? JEAN LUC!!!!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Great, fun post! The marching band comment did throw me off a bit, but the final result was sure tasty. Yours look great! Wonderful job!

Lori said...

yay for persevering!!! this was the strangest set of instructions, but they taste so good it's worth the trouble. you won't have so much hassle next time. great job!

Candy said...

YOurs turned out beautiful! I did love them, too.

Sandy Smith said...

This is a terrific post! I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe . . . and next time, no rulers needed! I love your pictures and your text - your biscotti look delicious too. Nicely done!

HoneyB said...

I truly didn't mind that they spread. I actually liked the shape - I just didn't care for the cornmeal part. Your biscotti look great!

Mary Ann said...

Funny! It looks like yours didn't spread too much, so good job on getting your logs to the right dimensions. They look wonderful!

pinkstripes said...

Your biscotti look absolutely perfect and delicious. I'm usually one to bust out a ruler, but for some reason (laziness?), I didn't.

Rebecca said...

I thought I'd made a mistake, too, when I saw the sticky, messy dough, but victory! Nice job.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Lovely biscotti. You did a great job. I was also perplexed by the Marching Band gig - goodness only knows how that could be possible.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love Dorie's turn of phrase, but it can be confusing sometimes! Your biscotti looks great!