Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"Doughnut Shop" Biscotti

I grew up just after the peak of the "true" doughnut shop era. You know, the time where you could walk into any coffee shop selling the slightly sweet, usually glazed pastry and be certain that a pot of boiling lard or tallow would be in the back, creating rings of perfectly light, crisp and ever so slightly greasy perfection ideal for tossing in spiced sugar and serving up in a paper bag. In my childhood, there were a handful of these gems around that I had the fortune of visiting maybe five or six times - and the experience and flavour memory I had of those special trips has stuck with me for decades.

"Doughnut Shop" Biscotti

Of course, none of these "real" doughnut shops would have dreamed of serving biscotti - let's face it, most of them barely served anything you could even call coffee (unless bitter, scalding water is your brew of choice). Instead, they prided themselves on freshly fried pastry made daily - sometimes every few hours - to keep up with demand. Coffee was something you could do at home.

Today, the tables have turned - you're likely to find much better coffee in the shops, but thanks to doughnut shops turning into chain franchises demanding consistency it's rare that you'll ever get a truly fresh cruller, bismarck or cake ring anymore. Instead, these (along with all the other sweets and breads) come in par-baked and frozen, ready for last minute finishing and glazing, or else ship in completely done and ready to sell. Of the latter category, biscotti are by far the most successful items. After all, you can't really make a dense, hard cookie taste or feel any more dried out! Since both my Italian stepfamily and a large contingent of my friends love my homemade biscotti, and I have a longtime love of the "old fashioned" style doughnuts, I figured I would try to blend the two. The secret to my success lay in using home-rendered tallow, which added an ever-so-slightly savoury edge, and tossing in both a heady dose of nutmeg and ground espresso beans for that "cafe" nuance in the back of your mouth. A drizzle of icing capped things off, and they were ready to be packaged for the office - still fresher than the box of doughnuts sharing the table!


"Doughnut Shop" Biscotti
Makes ~16
2 ½ tbsp melted tallow (for "doughnutty" flavour) or butter
⅓ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
½ cup spelt flour
½ cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tbsp ground espresso (not instant)
¼ cup tigernut flour
3 tbsp kinako
2 tbsp caramel or toffee bits
royal icing
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. Beat together the tallow, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, salt and flax in a large bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients (except icing), mixing to thoroughly combine.
  4. Form dough into a log about 8 ½ inches long and ½ inch thick on the parchment.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes. 
  6. Let cool for about 10-20 minutes, then slice crosswise into ½” slices.
  7. Stand the slices on the baking sheet so that both sides are exposed and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 82.9
Total Fat: 3.1 g
Cholesterol: 2.2 mg
Sodium: 5.0 mg
Total Carbs: 12.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
Protein: 2.0 g