Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This Was Crumby

We've all heard of crumb cake, right? Well, how about crumb biscotti? The difference here is to use any leftover cake that you might have tucked away in your freezer. Now I'm not a person who usually keeps leftover cake scraps or crumbs but it just so happened that I baked a chiffon cake a couple weeks ago and didn't end up using all of the cake. So, because I hate to waste perfectly good food, I sealed up the leftovers in a container and froze them. The cake actually came in handy a week later when I used some of it in a strawberry trifle, but even after that, I had quite a bit left over. This recipe helps take care of any leftover cake or even cookies, for that matter. It comes from what is becoming to be one of my favorite baking books, Nancy Silverton's Pastries From The La Brea Bakery. The biscotti came out very crispy and crunchy, though not too hard at all. Despite being made primarily from cake crumbs, it held together quite nicely and did not even crumble. Perfect for dunking! So make good use of your leftover cake and give this recipe a try. Let me know what you think.

Crumb Biscotti (from Pastries From The La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton)
1 and 1/4 cups unbleached pastry flour or unbleached AP flour (I used a combination of each)
1 and 1/4 cups dry cake crumbs (or cookie crumbs)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 extra-large egg
1 extra-large egg yolk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 extra-large egg white, slightly beaten, for brushing the tops of the biscotti

1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, crumbs, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger and mix on low to combine.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the whole egg and egg yolk together. Slowly whisk in the melted butter.
4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly pour in the butter mixture, mixing just until combined.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, flatten it into a rectangle and fold the dough over onto itself, packing it into a completely solid brick. Keep patting the dough and dropping it against the surface to compress it and eliminate all the air holes. Using both hands, roll the brick back and forth to round the edges. Continue rolling the dough until you have a log about 15 inches long.
6. Transfer the log to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten it slightly to form a loaf, brush the top with the egg white and sprinkle with the extra crumbs to cover.
7. Bake the loaf until firm to the touch, about 35 minutes; allow to cool completely.
8. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, slice the loaf into cookies, about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the biscotti on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake until dry, about 20-30 minutes.

**notes about drying your cake crumbs: I basically laid the cake scraps out on a baking sheet and placed it in the oven at around 300 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Check on your cake often though because you don't want it to burn. Once the cake is nice and dry, take it out and allow to cool before using the crumbs in the biscotti recipe.


Deborah said...

What an interesting idea!! I don't usually have cake in the freezer, either, but I'll remember this for the next time I have leftover cake!

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Anonymous said...

I realize you posted this a long time ago but wanted to let you know that the recipe is great!