Friday, 14 December 2012

Saffron Biscotti

I have a pounding headache, I am sleep-deprived, and I am on the verge of being ill, but these are my happy cookies. 

These are Swedish saffron biscotti.  I love saffron.  It's a very dominating ingredient both in terms of appearance and flavor.  Just the slightest pinch of it can paint the whole dish into a bright, mood-lifting yellow.   I don't know how to describe its flavor...  It's unique and complex, and combines well with the more subtle notes of sweet orange and bitter dark chocolate in these cookies.

It's exam season and I hope these cookies brought much cheer to my stressed-out peers. I've been going around giving people these.  Yesterday I was in the library and a girl behind me was on the verge of a breakdown because she had just received her essay back and she'd discovered that she'd failed her module.  I felt so bad for her, I just wanted to give her cookies but I thought that would've been weird... But I think she needed a cookie...

It's a rough time.  It's exam season.  It's dark outside.  It's not even dinner time yet.  It's depressing.  I was just reading a BBC article on vitamin D deficiency in this country.


But let's redirect our attention from the window to these cookies. 

They're like little jewels of sunshine.  Yellow's just such a happy color, isn't it? And the Christmas napkin helps too. 

They're meant to be small, cute and dainty little Swedish Christmas biscotti, but instead I turned them into big rustic Italian ones.  The recipe below is the original one that also asks for pearl sugar for garnish, and I think it does add a nice touch, I just couldn't find it.  It also tells you to make them small and dainty. 

Recipe from Saveur
Makes about 40 cookies

3 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup sugar

4 tbsp/60g unsalted butter, softened

1 tbsp. orange zest

1 tsp. saffron, lightly crushed

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

3.5 oz / 100g dark chocolate, chopped
Pearl sugar, for garnish

Heat oven to 160C.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat together sugar, butter, orange zest, and saffron until pale and fluffy, 1–2 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition;
add milk and mix until combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions; mix until just combined.
Mix in chocolate, then transfer dough to a work surface.

Quarter dough, transfer each quarter to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, and form each into a 12" x 1" flattened log; sprinkle each log with 1 tbsp. pearl sugar and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake 1 sheet at a time until lightly browned around edges, 30–35 minutes.
 Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes; repeat with remaining dough logs.

 Reduce oven temperature to 150C.
Transfer each log to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, slice the logs into 1"-thick slices. Return slices to the baking sheet, cut sides up and spaced evenly apart, and bake 1 sheet at a time until light brown and dry, 15–20 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely before serving.

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