For years, I’ve been trying to perfect biscotti. I play with flavor, texture and even size. This little biscuit is finicky — a few too many minutes in the oven will make it overly crunchy. An extra tablespoon of butter makes it too soft. But I’ve also learned that there are a wide range of preferences among biscotti lovers and you can’t please them all. Some people like them chewy (like my husband) and others like them extra crunchy (well, me). Let’s just say that perfecting this delectable and low fat treat hasn’t been the easiest cooking task I’ve tackled.
In order to develop delicious and workable recipes, I always give my cooking friends samples of food to taste test and all I ask for in return is honest feedback. Yes-men make terrible taste testers. What I need is brutal (ok, gentle) honesty. The other day, my friend Suzy offered the best advice I’ve been given so far. Having observed that my biscotti were part chewy and part crunchy, she suggested that I choose one or the other. She encouraged me to offer my husband, who likes them chewy, cookies instead.
As a result of her advice, I was inspired to continue my biscotti making quest and a few days ago, I invited Suzy to join me for a biscotti baking date. Together, we blended, molded and tasted as we set out to create the perfect biscuit; we went back and forth with ingredients, discussing ideal oven temperatures and cooking times. Having a friend with me during the process of creating was invaluable. It created the perfect test kitchen, where trial and error made the difference between something adequate and something sensational.