Friday, May 23, 2008

Cookies and biscotti

I have been baking, but got a bit too lazy to take pictures and then too busy to bake a few weeks.

so, a brief foody update and later i'll take some pictures of the string market bag i finished and put those up. Also, an update on that cell phone cover i crocheted later.

NE plus Ultra Cookies
from Martha Stewart's Cookie Book
A few weeks ago, my dad decided to pick up a new cookie book. I've made a couple out of there and this one got rave reviews. They are a slightly cakey cookie, but there is so much goodness in them (raisins, chocolate chips, and walnuts) that it's harder to tell. I intended to put coconut in the mix, but didn't remember til after I baked them. They hit the spot when you want a nice, big, chewy cookie

Cranberry-Walnut Biscotti
also from Martha Stewart's Cookie Book
It originally called for cherries and almonds, but we tend to have cranberries on hand 90% of the time and rarely cherries... and walnuts seemed to go better with the cranberries than almonds. These were liked much more than the spiced biscotti, (though those were pretty good), perhaps because they were a bit softer and more like a cookie. These came out a bit more cake-like, I think because of the butter content. I didn't follow the recipe's directions of simmering the berries in almond liquor, instead I followed a America's Test Kitchen tip: I soaked the cranberries in orange juice for about 15-20 minutes. They plump up and take a bit of the citrus flavor with them but not in an overwhelming way. I question the point of this a bit because biscotti has a bake all the moisture out of them, but it tasted good. They batter rose quite a bit from the baking soda (it was HUGE, much bigger than I expected) and seemed a bit like a buttery shortbread- but it's been forever since I've had shortbread, so don't take my word for it.

I made some of my favorite rosemary whole wheat bread the other day, but it got compromised. I had put it in my warmed oven to give it an ideal place to rise as dinner was being prepared, but then we unexpectedly decided to use the oven to warm some chips and my mom turned the oven on! I didn't realize for a bit and by the time i noticed, the yeast had denatured and wouldn't recover. It rose a tiny bit more, but it had a pretty decent "skin" of too warm/heated/ruined dough on top. The bread came out tasting fine, but only about half the rise as usual. It was a bit disappointing, because it was two loaves instead of one. This week I plan on making a apricot/walnut bread.