Tag Archives: cookie

Coffee-Almond biscotti

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This year is supposed to be a El Niño year, which means a lot of rain is expected. We have been hoping that it rains a lot and gives a relief from the drought situation in California. It has rained but not too much, so when this weekend it poured, everyone was super happy.

Rain always makes us think of Pakodas( fried lentil fritters), a cup of ginger tea. Rain makes everything look so pretty. Spring is in the air, flowers everywhere. The wisteria in our garden is looking gorgeous, vibrant with purple chandeliers.

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It was a very relaxing weekend, we had an amazing lunch at our favorite ethiopian place. They make such incredible food, especially their chicken is cooked so well. We ended that meal with a ethiopian coffee, which is always accompanied with a fragrant herb, ‘rue’. You let the herb seep in it’s flavors in the coffee before you drink it.

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Talking about coffee, recently my family has been obsessed with coffee. My son has been taking very scientific approach to coffee making. Weighing the coffee beans, freshly ground with handheld steel coffee grinder, water temperature measured by thermometer, even the pour has to be perfect. He looks like Alton Brown every time he makes coffee. He made me a macchiato with a little heart a few weekends ago, so perfectly made.

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On my recent trip to Guatemala, I visited this coffee shop which not only serves amazing coffee but also sells beans from the neighbouring areas. I picked a few pounds from there and we also replicated the same set up at home. It made such an amazing cup of coffee.

IMG_4349I love coffee in many forms whether it is coffee ice cream or Tiramisu or even Tiramisu french toast for breakfast, I love it all. So when we were talking about some cookie to go with the coffee, I decided to make this Biscotti. I love making biscotti for many reasons, you can make it ahead of time, you can make so many variations and they are not fragile so they transport well.

Since I love the coffee flavor, I decided to add it to the biscotti as well.

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Ingredients

2 3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 stick of unsalted butter softened

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs at room temperature

1 pinch of salt

3 tsp instant granulated coffee

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup of almonds roughly chopped

Chocolate dip

5 oz of dark chocolate chips

crushed almonds or sliced almonds

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt together.

Cream the softened butter with sugar.

Add coffee granules and vanilla mix a little more.

Add one egg at a time while the mixer is running.

Scrape down the liquid ingredients.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time. The dough will be sticky at this point. Keep the dough in the fridge so it will firm up and will be easier to handle.

Take the dough out and divide in two parts.

Form two logs of about 2 inch by 8 inch. Remember this will spread as they bake so dont make them wider than 2 inches.

Place the logs on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Bake for 25-30 mins.

Take it out of the oven and cool for 30 mins.

Biscotti means baked twice. So as the name suggests, we will be baking these twice.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut in 1 inch slices.

Arrange these slices cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake again for 15-20 mins. Remember that these will harden as they cool so be careful to not overcook these.

After baking it the second time, let them cook on a rack.

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Chocolate sauce

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, heating in the 30 sec intervals, stirring in between.

Dip one end of the cooled biscotti in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with crushed almonds. Layer them back on the parchment paper till the chocolate is solid again.

These store very well in a airtight container.

Serve with your favorite cup of coffee.

 

Variation:

You can skip the coffee granules in the batter, and add 1/4 cup of cocoa instead.

You can also make these with no chocolate or cocoa or almonds in the batter, and add 1 tsp of Anise seeds, 1/2 cup of cranberries & 1/2 cup of pistachio instead.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tricky little temperamental Treat

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French Macarons

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I had never seen a Stand Mixer until a few years ago. Always wanted to buy one since I saw it but could not justify the investment …until today, I bought my first KitchenAid..

Growing up in India I did not know much about baking. For one, we did not have any oven or any stand mixer  at home.  Mom made cakes on the stove top in this contraption and creamed the butter & sugar patiently with just her hands. I always love the cakes she makes but now I appreciate even more knowing how much effort went into it. When I came to the US I tasted so many yummy baked good and I started baking as well. The first time I tasted Macaroons, I did not care much more it. I personally don’t like coconut & chocolate together. Every time my daughter asked me to make Macroons, I kind of made excuses since I thought she was referring to Coconut Macaroon.

 

Then last year, Whole Foods opened near where we live and I got to see and taste French Macron for the first time, and let me tell you I fell in love with it.  Every time we go grocery shopping to Whole Foods, we coem back with a pack of macrons. They are yummy but expensive and I never felt like I ate to my hearts content.

 

So I decide to try and make Macrons at home. Usually I am good at following instructions and recipes, so I figured I can make macarons as long as I have the recipe and ingredients. Boy was I wrong, I failed miserably…not one, two, more like 6 times.  I had almost given up…but then I remembered that I had a set a birthday goal for my self. Yeah, like people set New Years resolutions, I make Birthday resolutions. On every birthday I set a few goals and try to complete them before the next birthday. So going back to Macrons, making them is one such goal I made last year and just could not give up.

I tried the seventh time… and very proud to say it worked. And that is how that KitchenAid came into my life..

French Macarons- a delicate temperamental cookie..but worth every min spent on it.

Macrons have very simple ingredients and looks very deceivingly easy looking, but the trick is in following all the steps and tips. I watched many you tube videos, read many recipes and then finally settled on this one..

 

Ingredients:

Cookie:

7 oz Confectioner ( powder) sugar
4 oz  Almond flour/meal
4 oz  Egg whites at room temp
3.5 oz granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp gel color of your choice

Filing

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
4 cups Confectioner ( powder) sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp milk

Method

A. For cookies:

Part 1- Dry mixture
  1. Sift the almond flour and the confectioner sugar at least 4-5 times. This makes the batter light and also ensures that there are no lumps in the batter.
Part 2- Meringue
  1. Making meringue- Take the egg whites and start beating them on a low-medium speed until it foams
  2. Add granulated sugar slowly. Once all the sugar is added, add the cream of tartar.
  3. Kepp checking in between and make sure you stir in between so make ensure that there is no liquid egg white remaining at the bottom of the bowl.

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  1. Scrape down the sides, add the food color
  2. Beat on high till you get a soft peak.
  3. It is not done if you get a beak, when you left the whisk out of the egg mixture.
Part 3- Mix the ingredients
  1. Mix 1/3 of the almond flour mixture in the egg mixture.
  2. Using the folding action mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
  3. When the dry flour is sort of mixed, add the next 1/3 and continue
  4. THIS IS IMPORTANT- DO NOT UNDER MIX OR OVER MIX. THIS PICTURE SHOWS YOU EXAMPLES.
  5. When you can see a ribbon falling from your spoon, your batter is ready
Part 4- Piping and baking the cookies
  1. Draw circle on the paper. These will act as a template for piping your cookies.
  2. Out that template on the baking sheet.
  3. Line your baking tray with parchment paper, on top of the template
  4. Fill the mixture in a pastry bag and using a #2 round tip, pipe the cookies on the parchment paper

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  1. Make sure you keep the tip almost buried in the mixture so you don’t get a point on the cookie- if you get a point it will look funny and the point will burn during baking
Part 5- Drying of the cookies
  1. Heat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Take the tray with the piped cookies and tap really firmly on the counter. This will ensure that the air trapped is released

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  1. Let the tray sit on the counter until the cookies have a skin on top and are dry to touch. Depending on the weather it could take from 20-30 mins
  2. I write the time on it so I know when I can check.
  3. Now your cookies are ready to go in.
Part 6: Baking
  1. Make sure that the oven temperature is right.
  2. Bake th cookies  for 10-15 min
  3. Turn half way to ensure even baking
  4. Check if the cookies are done- when you gently try to move the top and it kind of wiggles and slides, the cookies are not done.

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  1. Watch carefully  though since they go from not done to done very quickly
Part 7: Cooling
  1. I know it is tempting to eat them right away
  2. Wait for 3-4 minutes to take the cookies off the baking tray
  3. Let them cool completely before you fill them up.
B. For Filling
  1. Beat the butter until creamy
  2. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time.
  3. Add the color, lemon juice and zest and beat the mixture until light and fluffy.
There are 7 key points to remember, I have listed them here and have mentioned again along the way.
  1. Measure your ingredient- I recommend weighing them instead of measuring in a cup
  2. Sieve the almond meal & Suagr
  3. Beat your egg white just till soft peak stage
  4. Don’t over or under mix the Egg & Almond mixture
  5. Make sure the air is tapped out before you bake the macrons
  6. Make sure they dry out before you bake
  7. Make sure the oven temp is right

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