Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Army of Darkness

One of the things I didn't mention in my "summer vacation" post was why Dorie was in Austin to begin with.  She was here for the annual IACP conference.  I'm sure all the members of Tuesdays with Dorie and French Fridays with Dorie were very excited to see that Around My French Table won for both best general cookbook and cookbook of the year.  This isn't the first time that Dorie has won an IACP award, either.  The IACP featured her as part of their celebration of 25 years of cookbook awards.

I love Dorie's cookbooks--I have 5 of them--not just because she writes great recipes, but because of the way she writes them.  I buy cookbooks because I like to read them, not just to bake or cook from them.  Dorie puts great stories in hers, about the recipes and where they came from, but she also includes lots of great information about ingredients and techniques.  I love how descriptive she is in her instructions.  One of my favorites is when she is talking about making tart dough in the food processor.  "The dough...forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change--heads up."  Dorie's books are filled with lots of little tidbits like that. 

Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes picked Chocolate Biscotti for us to make this week.  We've made biscotti once before (which I happened to post on G's 2nd birthday--my, how she's grown!).  I was excited to see how this chocolate version would turn out.  I remember from last time that there was some confusion and discussion because in that recipe, Dorie instructs you to "stand them [the biscotti] up like a marching band" for their second bake.  To me, it was clear that she meant to have the biscotti in the same orientation as they were in the log, just cut apart, as opposed to laying them down on the cut sides.  (That way both sides dry out at once and you don't have to flip the cookies over partway through the baking time.) But it confused a few people.  In this week's recipe, the instruction is a bit different--you're supposed to "stand the slices up on the baking sheet--you'll have an army of biscotti."  Marching bands and armies, how many cookbooks have those? =)

I decided to pass on the nuts for my batch of cookies, and turned to the Playing Around section for other ideas.  I'm not a big fan of dried cherries, but decided to go with another dried fruit that I've subbed for cherries in the past--cranberries.  I went with 100 grams of sweetened dried cranberries and about 120 grams of mini chocolate chips.  I used some of my stash of Scharffen Berger cocoa and reduced the espresso powder to just one tablespoon.  And I topped my biscotti with some Swedish pearl sugar (which you can find at IKEA).

The verdict?  These were really tasty!  I love the look of the pearl sugar on top of the dark biscotti.  As many times as I've tried the combination now, I'm still amazed at how well the tart cranberries pair with dark chocolate. If you haven't tried them together, you should.  I shared my army of biscotti with some daycare teachers and some coworkers, and everyone liked them.

If you'd like to try these for yourself, Jacque has the recipe in her post.  And to see what everyone else thought of this week's recipe, check out the Links!


  1. Dorie really does write great cookbooks, doesn't she? Funny, we took a similar tack with our posts. Your biscotti are really pretty. Somehow I missed the whole sugar-on-top part of this recipe, and mine look a little naked by comparison!

  2. These are so pretty with the pearl sugar! I couldn't help but think about the Lenox almond biscotti when I made these. we enjoyed the chocolate biscotti so much more than the almond.

  3. I love that sugar on your biscotti. I need to make a mental note to check Ikea next time I'm there! I often find myself complaining about lack of instruction in other books after having baked from Dorie's book so often :)

  4. That pearl sugar just makes that biscotti shine. I will have to look for it.

    If it wasn't for Dorie I would not have learned as much as I have about baking. She is outstanding.