I’m always very intimidated when it comes to improvising with baking. When it’s cooking, I figure, no big deal. Mostly you’re just mixing things, and not changing the chemical structure very much of whatever it is you’re cooking. Baking is a whole other beast- when you throw these things together and add heat, you come up with something that’s chemically very different from what you started with. So you kind of have to know what goes together and in what amounts in order to make something that will come out recognizable in both composition and taste. Not an easy task.
While I’ve gotten pretty good at being able to veganize a regular recipe (sub soy or other non-dairy milk for cow’s, ener-g or flax or banana for egg), I’ve never gotten the hang of transforming one recipe into something that’s much different.
Today I have taken a Gingerbread Biscotti recipe, and changed it into Chocolate Almond. I made the gingerbread ones back at Christmas for my mom, and she loved them. She requested that I make chocolate almond ones for her birthday. At first, I thought she meant almond biscotti dipped in chocolate (which would have been much less intimidating), but no. She meant ones with chocolate in them. I will find out tomorrow if she approves of how they came out.
When it comes to taking another recipe and changing the flavors a bit… “Well, that doesn’t sound hard,” you might be thinking to yourself. And for some it might not be. But amounts had to be changed to accommodate for the addition of cocoa powder, which made things a little more difficult. I present my recipe here.
You will need:
Chocolate Almond Biscotti
1 3/4 Cups Unbleached White Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 Tablespoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
2/3 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
1/3 Cup Sliced Almonds
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients, except the almonds and Ener-G powder. Run a whisk through it to make sure all of the cocoa powder is unclumped. (Or sift it, but this way is faster. It is also Martha Stewart approved. I’ve been watching her show this week). In a smaller bowl, mix the water, extracts, and Ener-G powder with the whisk. Pour into dry ingredients; mix with a fork. You will probably need to switch to using your hands before long to make sure it’s all incorporated. You should end up with a sticky ball. If it isn’t quite coming together, add more water, a teaspoon at a time.
Divide dough into two balls, shape into a log. You can either do this on a floured surface (actually, with chocolate, powder sugar works better, since it will melt right into the baked good and not leave a residue), or you can do it right on your cookie sheet. Jut make sure to hit the cookie sheet with a spray of oil first. Once both pieces are shaped into logs, squish them flat. They will look like this:
Bake them for 30 minutes, remove from oven, and let them cool for at least 15 minutes. I did not let mine cool enough, so they didn’t cut as well as I would have liked. To cut them, use a serrated knife and cut on a diagonal, like this:
Lay the cookies out flat on your cookie sheet, and put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove, flip cookies over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Your kitchen should smell really good at this point.
Remove from oven, and lay them out on a cooling rack. It’s fine if they’re a little soft; they will continue to harden as they cool.
Pack up to take to mom’s, and wish her a belated happy birthday! Or, uh, eat them.