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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Honey Beescotti & Honey Unscotti



I have always wanted to join in on some of the weekly baking events that go on in the Foodie Blogosphere like Tuesdays with Doris and Hey Hey It's Donna Day, but I was too intimidated: they already had so many members, and had existed for so long that I thought it was too late and complicated to jump on the bandwagon. When I saw that Lorelei of Mermaid Sweets had created a new Baking Group in honor of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, I saw the opportunity to participate in a group from the very beginning. Today is the group's very first post, so it was perfect timing for me to join! The generous and super cool Elyse of Elyse's Confectionery Creations offered to email me the first recipe (since my copy of the book would not have arrived in time for the group's first post) and I was set! I think this baking group will be a good opportunity to get me to try recipes that I normally may not chose on my own.

The very first recipe chosen for Sweet Melissa Sundays was Honey Beescotti. Be sure to check out Lorelei's blog, Mermaid Sweets for this week's recipe! And see all of the Sweet Melissa Sunday's members' posts of Honey Beescotti as well!

The recipe called for Candied Orange Peel, either store-bought or homemade. I opted to make mine myself, but chose to do Candied LEMON peel instead of orange, because we are not big fans of Orange flavor in our desserts in this household. [see here for instructions on making Candied Citrus Peel, it's really rather easy!] One other change I made was to reduce the amount of almonds from 1/2 C to 1/4 C, and to use sliced almonds instead of whole, chopped almonds. And since Dan doesn't love almond flavored things, I altered the amount of extracts called for in the original recipe - instead of 1.5 tsp of Vanilla and 1.5 tsp of Almond extract, I used only vanilla and reduced the amount of extract to 2 tsp. Aaanndd I also chose to leave out the carraway seeds.

I didn't really have a super-spreading-out problem like some of the other members. And my dough WAS super sticky, but not unmanageable with lots of extra flour for dusting. Maybe because I chilled it sufficiently? After initially preparing the dough, I chilled it not just for the 1 hour the book called for, but actually overnight because it was getting late. Then the next morning, I made two logs, refrigerated another 30 min and baked. Perhaps that helped?



As you may or may not know, the italian cookies "Biscotti" get their name from thei method of baking: it is baked twice to get that crunchy, dry texture -- thus the "Bi" prefix ("Scotti" from cooked/burned/scaled - so it literally means something close to "cooked twice"). The recipe from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book calls for the same basic procedure. The recipe makes enough dough to get two logs, which are then baked, sliced and baked again. Since Daniel is not a fan of dry, crunchy cookies, I made one log in the traditional biscotti fashion: baked twice; and made the other log into "Unscotti" cookies: I only baked them the first time the recipe called for. I thought, HEY if it doesn't work out - I'll still have the other log's worth of cookies. But it certainly worked out. My Unscotti's were less dry and more soft, and the Biscotti's came out like your typical biscotti - crunchy and perfect for dunking in coffee. Both were successful. And I must say, if this recipe is any indication of the rest of the recipes in the book - then I am very excited that I joined this group! Both versions of the cookie were absolutely delicious! This is definitely not a recipe I would have chosen on my own to make, but I certainly am glad I made it. See? Getting out of your comfort zone every now and then is a good thing!

15 comments:

Elyse said...

Thanks for the shout out, Stephanie!! I'm so glad you're in the group! Your unscotti and biscotti look great. And I love your use of candied lemon peel. It's so funny that you mentioned baking one loaf only once. My boyfriend Todd does not like crunchy cookies. He loved the flavor of the biscotti but asked if I could make the cookies less crunchy next time (I laughed at him asking for a non-crunch biscotti). I'm so glad that this dough works with the unscotti method, though! I loved the dough's flavor, and I can't wait to make regular cookies with it!! What a creative first SMS post.

The Bahens said...

Your biscotti look beautiful. I wonder why some of us had problems with dough spreading and some didn't. We all changed the recipe so much it would be impossible to figure out why! Great job!

n.o.e said...

Love your biscotti (and glad to meet you!) - your photos are beautiful. I think the spreading comes from the variations in temperatures of ingredients, refrigerators, and ovens?? I always enjoy eating the trimmed ends of my logs - they don't get baked twice. I'm excited to experiment with other candied peel. Yum.
Nancy

pinkstripes said...

Your biscotti look gorgeous. I should have left out the caraway seeds. I've never used them before and bought them just for this.

Flourchild said...

Ahh your beescotti great looking. I really love the pictures with the coffee cup. Im glad your a part of the SMS group !!

Tracey said...

Great photos! Your biscotti look terrific. I'm so glad to hear that the biscotti were good after only one bake. I think I would have enjoyed them more if they weren't so crunchy because the flavors were really terrific. Looking forward to baking with you!

margot said...

I really like the idea of the unscotti and your cookies look wonderful! I'm looking forward to baking along with you on Sweet Melissa Sundays.

Mermaid Sweets said...

Glad you liked them. I LOVED them. I also love the unscotti - I never thought of that. Thanks so much for joining the group I look forward to baking with you.

Katiecakes said...

I thought about swapping the orange peel with lemon too. The candied peel I bought has 3 citrus peels in the box, but I stuck with orange for now. Keep the lemon and lime for a rainy day :D

Great baking with you and I look forward to future projects :D

Katie xox

Ingrid said...

Ha, love the unscotti! Like your Dan I'm not fond of crunchy cookies so would have gone the once cooked route though I'm all over almond flavored desserts.

Great job adapting the recipe to suit your tastes and still ending up with a great treat.
~ingrid

unconfidentialcook said...

I always say that as far as cookies go, there's the crispy team and the soft team--I'm on the latter, but these biscotti sound so good....

Donna-FFW said...

This looks absolutely delicious Stephanie. Love the flavors. Pictures are fantastic!

Zita said...

Wow... looks deliciously crunchy, defenitely worth the effort :)

jodye said...

Ooh I love biscotti, this looks so delicious and crunchy. Perfect for dipping into tea!

Mermaid Sweets said...

So glad you joined! Loving your posts =)

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