Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Carob, Hazelnut and Agave Biscotti

I've decided to write a cookbook. Yes, indeed, that's big news. Over the years, I've altered so many recipes to meet my dietary requirements that it made me think about how many other people are doing the same thing.

The focus will most likely be altering treats and desserts to accommodate my friend agave nectar.

Please note that I fully agree with copyrite laws and promise to provide full citations to all the originators of their recipes.

One example is this lovely recipe from Gourmet magazine that I altered in a few ways. First, I used whole wheat pastry flour. I also added a half cup of carob powder to offset the substitution of the liquid agave nectar for the sugar. I also cut the eggs by one.

Using a liquid sweetener always leads to a stickier dough unless the dry ingredients are increased so much that it throws the flavor way out of balance.

In the case of biscotti, though, I was counting on the fact that these cookies would be double baked (in other words, dryed) in a slow oven. Therefore, the wetness of the dough wouldn't matter in the long run.

I was right.

The original recipe calls for the oven to be kept at 350 degrees F. When dealing with agave nectar, it is necessary to keep the oven 25 degrees F colder because the risk of burning the food increases with each degree.
I followed the recipe with the timing for the first baking, and the biscotti logs came out as expected, with the typical cracking on the top, although one was more cracked than the other.

Years ago, prior to my discovery of sugar sensitivity and prior to my starting Deb's Delectables, I made hundreds of biscotti each year as holiday gifts. So, I had an idea of what to expect. However, this was my first ever attempt at making one of my favorite cookies with agave nectar.

The addition of the carob made it a bit more challenging to see how browned the cookies were, but I used the timing of the original recipe again to achieve a successful batch of biscotti.

As you can see at the right, I did not observe the 1/2 inch rule of biscotti. I like mine a bit thicker. They're more fun to dunk in tea that way.

Prior to my giving up caffiene, my favorite tea was a flowery Earl Grey from Harrods. This tea was a wonderful complement to pure biscotti (not altered with chocolate or carob.

These days, it's herbal tea for me. I paired this carob version with cammomile for a lovely honey overtone. A very yummy result.

The gourmet recipe is very true to every traditional recipe I've tried, except typically, they use toasted almonds rather than hazelnuts. But, who am I to argue with the rich flavor imparted by the humble hazelnut.

Just in case you might have wondered where I've been all this month, I've had my office painted and sent my computer back to the nice folks at Tiger Direct for a thermal issue. Today, I sit in my freshly painted office with my newly fixed machine beneath my fingertips. In the meantime, boxes filled with books sit patiently at my left and right, waiting to be placed on the shelves I hefted up the stairs yesterday.

Don't worry, I never packed the cookbooks away. They've just been relocated to the newly placed shelves in the dining room. They're sharing the space with John's fly-fishing books and our travel books.

Next time, an examination of diversity as seen through packed boxes.

1 comment:

happybaker said...

I am going to be trying this recipe. I made some carob-mint cookies today and really like them so I am interested to see how carob does in biscotti. Thanks for the great pictures and recipe.