Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Butter Biscotti



Count Down to Christmas Cookie Recipes

These are by far one of Karla's favorite cookies. Not too sweet. Tender and flakey. Very continental. Karla remembers these from her childhood and from the summers spent in Europe.

Not a bit like the familiar hard and dry Italian biscotti but every bit as divine with coffee or tea. In Prague, these are served with their signature mugs of strong, raspberry syrup laced tea. You'll find them in Vienna, too, where they're more likely to be served with cinnamon coffee or cocoa.  Don't waste these on the kiddies!


A bit of old world taste for
 your holiday cookie tray 

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Makes 18-20 (2 inch) cookies
Dough must be refrigerated before baking
Uses 2 cookie sheets lined with baking parchment
Uses a 2 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter
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1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick cold butter (cut into random 1 inch chunks)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks (see Baker's Tip below)

Glaze - 1 whole egg + 1 teaspoon water

In the food processor, pulse together the flour and the butter until uniform in appearance - about 45 seconds. (Use the dough blade if you have one.) Add the powdered sugar - pulse about 15 seconds then add the yolks. Pulse and process the mixture until it form a soft batter and starts to come together.

Remove dough from the processor and pack into a storage container. Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, position oven rack so cookies will bake in center. Preheat to 350 degrees. Cover 2 cookie sheets with baking parchment.

Using your hands, remove the dough from the container and gather into a ball. Work the dough a little with your hands to soften, if necessary, to make it pliable but take care not to over warm the dough or it will become sticky again. (If the dough should get too sticky to roll out, simply return the dough to the refrigerator to firm up and begin again.)

Press and flatten the softened dough (using your hands) into a 4 inch circle. Place on a very lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch (yes, 1/2 inch - that's much thicker than usual).

Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut out cookies. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart on parchment lined pans. (A metal spatula works well to lift cookies.)

Make a glaze for the cookies by beating together the whole egg and water with a fork until the yolk and white are mixed. Brush glaze evenly on each cookie. Be careful not to use so much glaze that it runs down the sides of the cookies and puddles on the paper. (No brush? Dip your index and middle fingers into the egg and lightly rub across each cookie.) You may not need all the glaze. Discard what you don't use.

Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are richly browned, crisp and dry throughout - about 30 minutes. Do not under bake.

Cool on pan 2 minutes then slide parchment paper (with cookies still on the paper) onto cooling rack. Cool cookies completely (about 30 minutes) before removing from paper.

Baker's Tip:
Save the egg whites for another recipe, compost them or make an egg white omelet.

To save egg whites that you won't be using for a recipe within 24 hours, place each white into the cavity of an ice cube tray or similar container. Freeze.

Pop frozen cubes into a freezer weight plastic bag or storage container and return to freezer.

When ever you need just the white of an egg for a recipe, thaw the number of whites you need - 1 cube equaling 1 egg white.

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