Category Archives: Literary Biscotti

Double Dipped Dark Chocolate and Apple Biscotti

13th October 2016

DOUBLE DIPPED DARK CHOCOLATE AND APPLE BISCOTTI + THUMMPRINTSThis is the first time I have created a biscotti around an inanimate (heh … well, I say inanimate) object and a series as a whole. Normally, when I tackle a biscotti I try to focus in on a specific character or book … but some stories – some “characters” – break the mold. Looking at you, Bliss House.

Bliss House is a creepy ass old house that has dark and twisted secrets, like whoa. It is the central character in three glorious novels (and one novella) written by the darling Laura Benedict. Bad things happen in this house. Bad people have, over the course of the house’s life, lived in her rooms (but were they awful BEFORE they moved in or did the house mold and shape them?).

I looked at what I knew about about Bliss House and knew from the get-go that I would be using dark chocolate (specifically some with a high cocoa count to give a bit of a bitter taste) because: dark and twisty. And they’re double dipped because I meant it when I said dark and twisty, plus: CHOCOLATE.

It took me a long while to settle on the other flavor – Laura writes fantastic prose that is FILLED with fruity descriptors (I toyed with the idea of blackberries for a while …); if you were to look at the ARC copy of “The Abandoned Heart” you would see a lot of circles and underlines every time Laura mentions anything that could be considered a flavor note (blackberries, peaches, apples …). I settled on apples because not only does the house have an orchard, but apples crop up along the whole timeline of the house.

In short: these biscotti are you, Bliss House … only without the creepy ghosts.

Note: baking with dried fruit can be tricky because they will inject a certain level of moisture into what you’re baking. In the case of biscotti just lengthen the initial bake time to 30 minutes (don’t panic if things look at little “under done” when you slice into them … they still have another baking to go, all will be well.

Double Dipped Dark Chocolate and Apple Biscotti

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 – 1 cup dried apples, chopped
3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP raw sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Add vanilla mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar mixture. Continue to mix until dough has formed.

Mix in apples.

Scoop dough out onto a Silpat (or parchment paper) covered baking sheet and form into a roughly 15×4 inch block. Sprinkle raw sugar over the top.

Bake until a light golden color (approx. 30 minutes – see above note). Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.

Carefully remove log from baking sheet to cutting board. Using a long knife slice log into 1/2 inch wide pieces.

Return pieces to baking sheet, and return sheet to oven. Bake for additional 15-20 minutes.

Remove biscotti from oven, and place on a cooling rack, they will continue to “crisp” as they cool.

Once completely cooled, dip flat bottoms in melted dark chocolate (I usually pour the chocolate out onto a plate) – pop biscotti in the fridge for ten to twenty minutes to help chocolate set. Dip again.

Store in an airtight container.

Pecan Praline Biscotti

30th September 2016

Pralines are a SOUTHERN thing, much in the same way clam chowder is a New England thing – by which I mean there are certain foods that just bring to mind a certain part of the country or even a city. If you’re from The Lou think gooey butter cake, toasted ravioli, square cut cracker thin crust pizza, pork butts, and Ted Drewes (it’s a THANG). Many people think of New Orleans when they think praline, and since I found myself in The Big Easy earlier this month to attend my first ever Bouchercon (!!!), a place where one would rub elbows with mystery writers and pals alike … well, you know: #biscottimode

These biscotti, much like their confection counterparts, are buttery, brown sugary, and pecany — however, these biscotti also feature a kiss of salt to knock them over the edge into “the stuff dreams are made of” territory. Amazing what a little salt can do to a baked good, isn’t it?

Sidenote: clearly the BEST praline is the kind you can snap in half (side eyes the soft chewy kind); shout out to Laura’s Candies in the French Quarter — y’all keep on keeping on and I’ll see you on my next visit, because I might now kinda sorta get the obsession with these little confections of delight.

Pecan Praline Biscotti

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, room temp
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp butter extract
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp sugar in the raw
1/2 tsp finishing salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Using the paddle attachment, cream butter and two kinds of sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and butter extract, mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar mixture. Continue to mix until a dough has formed.

Mix in pecans until fully incorporated.

Scoop dough out onto a Silpat covered baking sheet and form into a roughly 15×4 inch block. Dust the top of the biscotti with raw sugar and finishing salt mix. Bake until a light golden color (approx. 25 minutes). Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.

Carefully remove log from baking sheet to cutting board. Using a long knife (serrated if you prefer) slice log into 1/2 inch wide pieces. Return pieces to baking sheets, and return to oven. Bake for additional 15-20 minutes.

Remove biscotti from oven, and place on a cooling rack, they will continue to “crisp” as they cool. Once completely cooled you can store your biscotti in an airtight container.