Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mandelbrot (Jewish Biscotti)

My best friend is Italian. I'm Jewish. Needless to say our relationship is entirely built on a shared love of food. Yet, all of our worst arguments are squabbles over taste preference and priorities. He finds my lack of interest in pasta sauce to be insulting, my addiction to chocolate frightening and my indifference to pizza outright revolting. And I argue that it's not that I DON'T like pasta sauce, I just hate to glob it on. And chocolate is the perfect palate cleanser. And I do like pizza from time to time, I just never crave it, gosh darn it.
In fact, no matter what, our conversations always seem to digress into rants about the college search process, our discrepancies in food preference and how much he hates cold (I'm pro-winter). Yesterday was a busy day in the Zimmerhouse. With finals week quickly approaching, my father and were using the kitchen like nobody's business. My dad found this recipe in the King Arthur's cookbook. It seemed perfect. Some classic Italian with a Jewish twist. The perfect cookie to appease both me and my friend. It's pretty cool - you get to double bake them. It made me feel super professional and advanced, even though it was a VERY simple recipe. 

If you look carefully, you can see the FOUR different kinds of cookies that were baked yesterday
With snow finally falling on the ground, many a mind turns toward the perpetual hope in a snow day. Luckily, my sister and had something even more wintery to look forward - an annual Hot Chocolate 5K. Having only done it once in the past 4 years, and my time 10 minutes slower than I run these days, I had no expectations. So, she and I decided to dress up and make it a fun run.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 28 then 25 minutes
Oven Temp: 350 then 300
Total Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes

3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup toffee chips*

*These can be found in the chocolate chip section of your grocery store - I used the Heath brand

 Beat together the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and salt at medium-high speed until thickened and light-colored, about 5 minutes.
Beat in the flour and baking powder.
Mix in the chips. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours, or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
Divide the dough into four even pieces, about 13 ounces each if you have a scale.
Working with one piece at a time, place the dough on the prepared baking sheet, shaping it into an 8" x 2" log. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, leaving at least 2" between them; you'll put 2 logs on each baking sheet.
Sprinkle the logs heavily with coarse white sugar, if desired.
Bake the logs for about 28 to 30 minutes, until they're set and beginning to brown and the edges and sides, but not brown all over. Remove them from the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.  Allow them to cool for 10 minutes.
Cut each log into 1/2" to 3/4" slices. Cutting them on the diagonal will make the mandelbrot longer; cutting them crosswise will yield shorter cookies.

Place the pieces on edge, quite close together, on the baking sheets, and return them to the oven.
Bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, until a cookie feels baked through when you pinch it between your fingers. You'll also notice some browning around the edges, though the cookie shouldn't be browning all over. The point is simply to bake them all the way through.
Remove from the oven, and cool the mandelbrot right on the baking sheets.

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