Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pancake day biscotti


Growing up in Britain, there was only one day of the year when I ate pancakes – on Pancake day, of course. Otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday (or, perhaps appropriately, Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday), this is the last day before Lent, and historically was a time to eat up rich foodstuffs such as butter, sugar and eggs before the time of fasting. In my childhood experience, the only way to serve these pancakes was to sprinkle them with sugar, lemon juice and currants, then roll them up and eat. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that (a) these are also known as crepes in France and in fact throughout most of continental Europe, (b) American pancakes are a different beast altogether, much thicker and fluffier and (c) you don’t have to serve them with lemon, sugar and currants; in fact a wide variety of both sweet and savory fillings are possible.

Anyway, this post isn’t about pancakes, it’s about biscotti. I wanted to recreate the same sweet lemony-curranty flavor of my childhood pancakes, but in a cookie. It appears that biscotti are my favorite cookie to make, since this is no less than the third biscotti recipe to be posted at Monkeyshines in the Kitchen. This recipe contains even less butter than my reduced fat biscotti, so the biscotti are even crunchier and even better for you :-). I also reversed the usual ratio of brown to white sugar, as I thought it would fit the flavor profile better. Hope you like them!

2c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar 
1 oz butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
grated zest of 2 lemons
2 large eggs
3/4 cup currants

Preheat the oven to 350 ºF. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Soften the butter and cut into small pieces. Using a stand or hand mixer, combine the butter and two sugars and cream together until smooth. Beat the eggs, mix them with the vanilla essence and lemon zest, then gradually add to the butter/sugar, stirring continuously to incorporate the egg. Keep mixing on slow speed and add the flour mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, until well incorporated. Mix in the currants (using a spatula or by hand; the dough will be quite stiff), then turn out the ball of dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two, then shape each half into a long bar, each about 12-14” long and 2” wide.
Place the bars on a large (nonstick or buttered) cookie sheet at least 3” apart and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 ºF. After a few minutes, move the bars to a board and cut diagonally into ~1/2” slices. Return the sliced biscotti to the cookie sheet (cut side down) and bake for 8 minutes, then turn them over and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

1 comment:

  1. Lemon and currants go together like peanut butter and jelly. OM NOM NOM! I haven't been up for much lately, but these I might be up for...