A couple days ago, I had a recipe testing kind of day. Now, recipe testing is what I live for. It gives me a chance to axe the bad recipes and praise the good ones. This time was no different and it involved Chocolate Biscotti. But how do you know what recipes to choose? Well, this post will be all about my secrets to testing recipes and finding great ones. These are my secrets:
Where do I start? Find recipes from trustworthy people and those who you've had much success with in their recipes. A few of my favorites are Ina Garten, Michael Symon and Anne Burrell. When a majority of their recipes are in good standing, you're pretty much guaranteed a good recipe. But, don't put all your hopes in that.
What if my favorite person doesn't have a recipe for what I want to make? Go to Google and search _______ recipe. But specifically, look at the images of the final product. If something doesn't look like you would eat it, skip on it. Yes, some recipes may be BADASS but look really bad, but, what I look for is a "WOW!" moment that makes you want to eat it.
So, you've found something either from your favorite chef or a great looking photo but how do you know if you should try it out?
Read the reviews! If a majority of the reviews are great, you probably should try it out. If not, pass on it. If it's from a food blog, read the comments. Sometimes you find great info either from the blogger or readers with their tips on the recipe.
Should I go ahead and try the recipe? Well, it's all about a gut feeling at this point. Sometimes you just feel that a recipe will be good and if you have that feeling, go for it! You never know until you try.
Should I try the whole recipe? NEVER!! This is called "Recipe Testing" for a reason! Never make the whole recipe because you don't know what the outcome will be! If it's bad, you'll be throwing away so many ingredients. If it's good, you can always make more. I try to half the recipe usually.
I pretty much used all these secrets when looking for this Chocolate Biscotti and ended up with one from David Lebovitz. I was drawn to this recipe by the google image search. In addition, after finding David Lebovitz, I knew I had someone trustworthy because I used a recipe of his from the past. From my research, this is an authentic Italian Biscotti because the only fat that comes into this recipe is from the cocoa powder and the egg yolks in the eggs. "Americanized Biscotti" on the other hand has the addition butter.
After trying this recipe, I'm back to square one on the search for a Chocolate Biscotti. I was not a fan of this biscotti due to how rock hard the biscotti came out to be. My issue was that I felt that they were going to break my teeth. These are definitely cookies that you eat with coffee to soften the cookie so if you like that, be my guest.
I, myself, prefer the Americanized version because I find butter makes a biscotti that has the right amount of crunch without the struggle of biting through the cookie. So, on to a search for a recipe with butter!
Lastly, I leave you with this. Recipe testing is not always perfect and it takes a couple of tries to find the perfect one. Don't be discouraged when something doesn't come out the way you want it. Just "Keep Calm and Cook On!"
Recipe by David Lebovitz
Ingredients2 cups (280g) flour
3/4 cups (75g) top-quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (125g) almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped
3/4 cups (120g) chocolate chips
For the glaze
1 large egg
2 tablespoons coarse or crystal sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together the 3 eggs, sugar, and vanilla & almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts and the chocolate chips until the dough holds together. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into two logs the length of the baking sheet. Transfer the logs onto the baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Gently flatten the tops of the logs. Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the logs liberally with the egg. (You won’t use it all). Sprinkle the tops with the coarse or crystal sugar. Bake for 25 minutes, until the dough feels firm to the touch.
Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to diagonally cut the cookies into 1/2-inches slices. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm. Once baked, cool the cookies completely then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you wish, the cookies can be half-dipped in melted chocolate, then cooled until the chocolate hardens.