bittersweetbaker

Candied Ginger Biscotti- Experimenting in the Kitchen

In Biscotti on April 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm
From Adriana Baking

Sometime this month a year ago, I would have been just discovering my love for baking, and all the joys that come with it. I would have been cautiously measuring flour, and asking my mother how much one stick of butter is. I would have been asking for help turning on our inconsistent oven. That day, I would have been just beginning my obsession with baking.

I realize that I have grown a lot since that time, and to think that I did not know how many tablespoons are in a stick of butter seems almost unimaginable. Not only do I now know how to turn on the oven, I know that it runs a little hot, and is very inconsistent. I can measure out a teaspoon of vanilla without getting out the measuring spoons, and I know to always reduce the salt in a sweet recipe by just a pinch after making overly salty strawberry muffins.

I have learned all this through experience and my numerous mistakes in the kitchen.

But it was just recently that I started to alter recipes and experiment with them to suit my tastes. I now know enough about the science behind baking that I know when a recipe is a bad one, and what will or what will not work if I decide to substitute an ingredient. I add more confectioner’s sugar to Flourless Fudge Cookies when I think that the batter is too runny, and use buttermilk instead of milk in some cake batters to give them extra moistness.

A couple days ago, my mother was commenting on how I had not baked for two days in a row. Two days in a row is a very long time for someone that loves baking as much as I do! This past week was a very busy one, and I did not have as much time as I wanted to bake and try new recipes. My mother suggested that I make biscotti, since it is a recipe everyone in my family loves, and because we needed to use up some Craisins. I went straight to my go-to biscotti recipe, and started setting out the ingredients needed. Halfway through the process, I realized that we did not have Craisins. Part of the reason why I was going to make biscotti was to use up the half bag of Craisins in the cupboard. I rummaged around, and found a bag of candied ginger next to a bar of chocolate. Chocolate and ginger, my two favorite combinations. I pulled the two out, and started making the biscotti recipe. Towards the end, I decided to throw in some ground ginger for an extra kick.

What my experiment resulted in was the best, most flavorful biscotti I have ever made. The candied ginger did not become overly sticky or gooey like a worried it would, but added a delicious chew to the biscotti. I ended up not drizzling chocolate over them as I planned to do because they were gone too quickly, but I am positive that chocolate would be a wonderful addition. If you decide to add chocolate, I would recommend drizzling it over the biscotti instead of dipping them in it or adding chocolate chunks to them. You do not want the chocolate to overpower the ginger.

My experiment was a little one, but I know that from now on I will become much more adventurous.

The recipe that I used is from Joy of Baking, and I will use it as a base for many biscotti batches from now on.
I like this recipe a lot because it does not use butter like some recipes do. The authentic biscotti in Italy do not use butter either.  The baking time in the recipe was just right for me; the biscotti was crunchy but not overly so.

Update (May 4th, 2010): I made the base for the biscotti and I added 1/2 a cup of pistachios and a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom. This was my mother’s favorite combination yet. (The pictures are at the end of the post).

From Adriana Baking

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti Recipe:

2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (60 grams) shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped (I used almonds instead).

1/2 cup (75 grams) dried cranberries or cherries (I used a 1/4 cup of candied ginger instead, and added 2 to 3 teaspoons of ground ginger).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs on high speed until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) At this point beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the chopped pistachios and cranberries.

Transfer the dough to your parchment lined baking sheet and form into a log, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) wide. You may have to dampen your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky. Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) slices, on the diagonal. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 16 – 20 biscotti.

From Adriana Baking
Cardamom pistachio biscotti

From Adriana Baking
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  1. These look great, I love anything with ginger in it. I know that feeling once you know how to change flavors, I love infusing things now, and the whole not baking two days in a row I totally understand, If I could I would bake everyday which I think I did last summer! Thanks for the birthday wishes, and I’m sure you know how I feel, and even more so your graduating which a big deal, good luck on finals!

  2. Thank you so much Becca!

    I can’t wait for summer; baking everyday is exactly what I plan to do!

  3. I like the picture!!!!!

  4. I know it’s ages since you posted this… but, just want to say it is exactly what I was looking for when I found this…. and your photos are lovely…are you still doing a lot of baking? …..

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