Sunday, January 25, 2009

Butter Pecan Biscotti

I had a big bag of pecans leftover from Christmas baking. So I did some searching for biscotti recipes with pecans and came across this fabulous recipe, adapted from King Arthur Flour. I had to adjust mine just a smidge, in the absence of shortening. Below is the recipe I used. These turned out awesome and I will definitely make them again!

1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 ounces) pecan pieces, toasted*
1 cup (6 ounces) butterscotch chips

*Toast pecans by placing them in a single layer on an ungreased pan and baking them in a preheated 350°F oven for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they smell "toasty" and are beginning to brown.*

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl midway through. Beat in the vanilla, baking powder and salt. Mix in the flour, 1 cup at a time, till you have a cohesive, well-blended dough. Add the nuts and butterscotch chips, mixing till they're well-distributed throughout the dough.

Transfer the dough to a work surface. Divide it into three fairly equal pieces, and shape each piece into a rough 10-inch log. Transfer each log to a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches between each log; you may need to use two baking sheets. Wet your fingers, and pat the logs into smooth-topped rectangles 10 inches long x 2 1/2 inches wide x 7/8 inch thick.

Bake the logs in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're beginning to brown around the edges. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool for 30 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

Gently transfer the logs to a cutting surface, and use a serrated knife to cut them on the diagonal into 1/2-inch wide slices. Because of the nuts and the nature of the dough, the biscotti at this point are prone to crumbling; just be sure to use a slow, gentle sawing motion, and accept the fact that some bits and pieces will break off. (It's the privilege of the cook to eat these warm, tasty bits and pieces as they're created.) Carefully transfer the slices, cut sides up (and down) to a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can crowd them together, as they won't expand further; about 1/4-inch breathing space is all that's required.

Return the biscotti to the 300°F oven, and bake them for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, quickly turn them over, and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until they're very dry and beginning to brown. Remove them from the oven and cool completely. You can drizzle them with a mixture of melted butterscotch chips and 1 tsp vegetable oil. I happened to use all of my butterscotch chips in the actual recipe, so I substituted white chocolate chips instead. Store in an airtight container.

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