Friday, March 6, 2015

Ciao Biscotti Giveaway



Update March 15, 2015: The winner of the giveaway book "Ciao Biscotti" is Carolyn Immordino MacCleod.
Anytime my friend Domenica Marchetti writes a new cookbook, you can be assured it's going to be good. Long a champion of Italian cooking, especially that of the Abruzzo region, her cookbooks are well researched and well written, apropos for a woman who worked as a newspaper journalist before moving to culinary writing. She has now published a new book - "Ciao Biscotti" - that will keep biscotti lovers happy for a very long time. 
Some of the old classics are here, like almond or anise biscotti, but she's also included some recipes for some not-so-traditional ones like browned butter and Toblerone, and cardamom-pecan. One chapter deals with the savory side of biscotti, such as crispy pancetta, or smoky gouda, giving you even more reason to uncork a nice bottle of wine and chill out with a biscotto or two.
The final chapter highlights a few cookies that aren't biscotti, such as hazelnut meringues or Nutella sandwich cookies. The temptation to try out each of the recipes in the book is strong, but I had to limit myself to three for now --
olive oil and citrus, that I drizzled with a lemon glaze:
chocolate chunk with cherries:
 and chocolate-dipped toasted coconut: 
It's hard choosing a favorite, because they're all so delicious, but if you were to peek inside my cookie tins, you'd find that someone's been dipping into the chocolate-dipped coconut ones with a little more gusto than she should have. I can't wait to try some of the other recipes in the weeks ahead.
 I'm including the recipe for the chocolate-covered coconut biscotti, but for others, you'll just have to get the book. 
You won't be disappointed, although I have a different experience in freezing biscotti than Domenica, maybe because when I bake them a second time, I do so at a higher temperature than she does.
Let me add my nerd notes here: biscotti means twice baked, in case you didn't already know. The prefix "bis" is used in several instances to indicate repetition of some sort or other. When you're at the end of a performance in Italy and want the singer to perform one more song, you don't yell "encore," you yell "bis." Also, while nonno is grandfather in Italian, bisnonno is a great grandfather, the same way that bisnipote is a great grandchild, or great nephew or niece.
 Which brings me back to the second baking and freezing. For the second baking, I do leave them in the oven longer and at a higher temperature than Domenica suggests in the book, because I like them to be uncompromisingly hard and crunchy. I crank up the temperature of the oven to 400 degrees and leave them in for another ten to fifteen minutes or so, flipping them over halfway, until they're golden on each side, and checking continually to make sure they don't burn. That dries out any remaining moisture and makes them as crunchy and addictive as eating potato chips.
I find that the extra baking time and temperature means that they freeze well and never lose their crunch, even the frosted ones. But first try baking according to Domenica's directions and see if that works best for you.
For those of you who live in the Philadelphia, Pa. area, Domenica will be at Fante's fabulous kitchen store on 9th St., this Sat. March 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so you can get a copy personally autographed by her. Free samples of biscotti too! 
But I'd also like to give one of my readers a chance to own a copy, so I'm offering a giveaway here. All you have to do to win a copy of "Ciao Biscotti" is to leave a comment below (on the blog NOT in email, for those of you who receive updates via email). Domenica herself recently held a giveaway on her blog for a copy of the book and asked readers to leave a comment describing something sweet about Italy. I loved reading some of the comments, whether it was about a sweet Italian food, or a sweet memory of Italy -- so I'm asking my readers to do the same. If you've never been to Italy, then describe what you love about Italian food, art or music. I'll let the computer choose a winner with a randomly generated number. You don't need to have a blog to enter, but if you don't, please leave an email address so I can contact the winner. Grazie.


Chocolate-Dipped Toasted Coconut Biscotti
from "Ciao Biscotti" by Domenica Marchetti
printable recipe here

1 T. vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups/285 g. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup/50 g. unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
3/4 cup/150 g. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 cup/50 g. sliced honey-roasted almonds or sliced almonds, toasted (I used toasted pecans)
5 Tbsp/70 g. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch/12 mm. pieces, at room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 oz./115 g. bittersweet chocolate, melted

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Lightly coat an 11 by 17 inch/28 by 43 cm. rimmed baking sheet with the oil. (I used a Silpat silicone mat and you don't need any greasing at all.)
Combine the flour, coconut, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly on low speed. Add the almonds and mix briefly on low to combine.  Add the butter in pieces and mix on medium low speed until the mixture looks like damp sand. Pour in the eggs and mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough has formed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Divide it in half. Lightly moisten your hands with water and gently roll one portion of dough into a rough oval. Place it lengthwise on one half of the baking sheet and use your hands and fingers to stretch and pat the dough into a log about 2 1/2 in/6 cm wide and 12 in/30 cm long. Shape the second piece of dough in the same way, moistening your hands as necessary. Press down on the logs to flatten them out a bit and make the tops oven.
Bake the logs for 25 minutes, or until the bottom edges are lightly browned and the tops are set -- they should be springy to the touch and there should be cracks on the surface. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Gently slide an offset spatula under each log to loosen it from the baking sheet. Let the logs cool for 5 minutes, and them transfer them to the rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C. (I raised it to 400 degrees F./200 degrees C.)
Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and, using a Santoku knife or a serrated bread knife, cut them on the diagonal into 1/2 in/12 mm-thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut-side up, on the baking sheet (in batches if necessary) and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until they are crisp and golden. Transfer the slices to the rack to cool completely.
Arrange the slices cut-side up on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Dip one end of each biscotto into the melted chocolate and set them on the wax paper. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is set. Let the biscotti return to room temperature before serving.

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33 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Fabulous biscotti and great giveaway!

Cheers,

Rosa

SEMS Library Lady said...

One sweet memory of Italy? That's hard! Two years ago we spent a week in Venice, so sweet memories include the tiny bar near our hotel where we had cornetti and cappucino standing at the counter, while the owner fed meat scraps to the dogs wandering in one door and out the other, as if they were on their way to work. And the gelato, everywhere! And the bags of assorted cookies that we took back to our room each night, because all that walking meant we could eat whatever we wanted. Thanks for reminding me of that wonderful trip!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I've had many different types of sweet biscotti over the years but never a savory one, and I think I'd make a few of them to try first as an appetizer or lunch item. I always reach for sweet Anise flavored biscotte but this chocolate coconut flavor sounds fabulous!
I have many wonderful memories of Italy but I'd say that seeing the house where my husband was born in Calabria is my favorite. It was one room...and when he was little they had no plumbing or electricity, just a coal stove.

Beth Carnevale said...

I'm wondering if they would work as well with whole wheat flour. I have never made them but my daughter has. Perhaps some spring inspiration thanks Ciao Chow Linda! Chirps xo

ikate said...

i LUV biscotti. esp Linda's biscotti!

ikate said...

i LOVE linda's biscotti!

insung choe said...

i LOVE linda's biscotti!!

Helen said...

Linda, you have done a terrific job with this post - photos and info are inspiring and helpful.

I've been making Domenica's savory biscotti from 'Big Night In' over and over. I am taking spring break to play with the recipes in her newest guide to pleasure.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I was going to ask you about the coconut ones, I guess I got the answer,but they all sound so good. I'm with you though I too like mine extra crunchy and I'm not even a dipper, I just like to crunch crunch while I'm eating them.

domenicacooks said...

Bella Linda, thank you for shining a light on my little book. Your biscotti look beautiful. I will try your method of doing the second bake at a higher temp as I've never done it that way. Like anything, in the end it comes down to personal preference. When you freeze them do you just take them out and let them come to room temp before serving? Also, let me know when a winner is announced. I'd be happy to send along a signed book plate to go in the book if the winner would like it. Cheers and thanks again!

bakewelljunction said...

I'm Italian so Italian food is just food to me. I love Italian desserts.
Great giveaway!
Annamaria

Ellen @ BakeItWithBooze said...

I love the fact that in Italy, I could eat gelato for my first real meal of the day! Thank you!

Chiara Giglio said...

Mi piace vivere in Italia ma soprattutto mi entusiasma far conoscere le mia città ! Un abbraccio

Chiara Giglio said...

...dimenticavo, che biscotti golosi, brava Domenica ma brava anche tu !

Betty P said...

I love the smell of Italy, the salt air, the trees, the vineyards all mixed somehow with the diesel fuel make it a wonderful memorable smell I'll never forget!

Sharon Wilkins said...

Nothing better then dunking a biscotti in your coffee or hot chocolate. Enjoy reading your blog and cooking many of your recipes!

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

I'm Italian so there's nothing I don't love about Italy or Italian things. I think it's not only the beauty of the land but it's the people themselves. They are generous and giving and whether you're stranger or not they make you feel welcome -- at least that has always been my experience. I would love to add to my biscotti recipes -- I give them as gifts at Christmastime! Grazie for the generous giveaway. Oh! One of my pet peeves?? People mispronouncing biscotti a la Starbucks.

Trial said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn Immordino MacLeod said...

Still hoping to travel to Italy - to visit the Neapolitan and Sicilian hometowns of my parents and to see the relatives.. Love the biscottis that my mother and aunts used to make. My Aunt Lorraine always has a tin of biscottis ready for offer to anyone who stops but!

Anonymous said...

The biscotti looks fabuless, I would love to win the book, I will make the biscotti soon..from mary s. at maryjanesampson@outlook.com ciao! I have never been to Iraly but I would go if I had the means, our only child went and ate herself into a coma, she said the country was so lovely the seas, the trees, olive treas, fruits, she was in heaven..ciao mi bella!

Anonymous said...

I also meant to say the People of Italy all of the country were kind and loving and wonderful..our only child got lost and they helped her to find her way, she said the skies were always blue, the temperatures warm and the people the sweetest she ever met, ciao mi bella!

ikkinlala said...

Those look amazing!

One of the things I like about Italian food is that I can so often make it with basics and things from the garden - there's a lot that doesn't require fancy, expensive ingredients.

Anonymous said...

These look amazing I would love to win this one.
heather hgtempaddy@hotmail.com

Claudia said...

Every April I make chocolate with dried cherry biscotti! Now I can totally wrap myself around a Toblerone biscotti. I've had a love affair with Toblerone since I was nineteen! Wish I could just pick them off the screen! All are lovely.

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,
We were in Italy in Oct and my sweetest memory is actually savory! My favorite dish was escarole and beans that I think was in Florence. It was exactly the way my mother made it. So good!!
I love to bake and would make good use of the biscotti book.
Carol@ w.blaine@comcast.net

Marie in AZ said...

Oh, my goodness! Only ONE sweet memory of Italy? It would have to be the pistachio gelato we had near the Trevi Fountain...as crowded as it was with tourists that day, it was still wonderful!

Shelley Finke said...

It pains me to say I've never been to Italy, but for about three years I've been immersing myself in learning about -- and practicing -- its logical, simple cooking. I now feel very comfortable not having a dinner "plan" but knowing I can throw something delicious together from what's in the cupboard and fridge. No small thanks to Miss Linda!

Amy L said...

I've never been to Italy, but it's a dream of mine to go someday. My dad was Italian, and his mother taught my mom how to make some Italian recipes, which she taught me to make, and I've been teaching my children. I started baking biscotti on my own many years ago, after seeing a recipe in Cooking Light magazine. I'd love to try some of the recipes in this cookbook.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite memories of Italy is going to the Dolomites to ski and having the most wonderful meals and hot mulled wine on the slopes.
A sweet finish to the day was a cup of coffee or a mulled wine with a biscotti. I taught myself to make biscotti after having them in Italy. What a treat to have them fresh made.

Cong said...

Love how vibrant and natural your photographs are. Would love to try this recipe.

marcella said...

I've never been to Italy but I do love gelato!

AdriBarr said...

What a terrific review, and what a wonderful book. I know we will all have a ball baking our way through this one. Your biscotti look absolutely fabulous! Nice work!

AdriBarr said...

What a terrific review, and what a wonderful book. I know we will all have a ball baking our way through this one. Your biscotti look absolutely fabulous! Nice work!